Archive for the UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY Category

Colombia finds disputed ‘Holy Grail’ of shipwrecks

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on December 7, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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DECEMBER 5, 2015

Colombia finds disputed ‘Holy Grail’ of shipwrecks

Read more here:

Colombia says it has found the San José Spanish galleon, which sank in 1708

The shipwreck is thought to be worth between $4 billion and $17 billion

U.S. based Sea Search Armada claims it found the wreck in 1981

In Photos: Amazing Shipwrecks Discovered Around Greek Archipelago

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on November 4, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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In Photos: Amazing Shipwrecks Discovered Around Greek Archipelago

Antikythera Wreck Yields More Treasures of Ancient Greece’s ‘1 Percent’

Posted in ARCHAEOLOGY, UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on October 1, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

Post 4836

Antikythera Wreck Yields More Treasures of Ancient Greece’s ‘1 Percent’

A bronze chair arm — possibly the remains of an ancient throne — and a piece of a Greek board game are among the latest treasures raised from the site of the famous shipwreck Antikythera.

The ship, which went down in 65 B.C., sits off the coast of the Greek island of the same name. It was discovered in 1900 by sponge fishermen and has been periodically studied since.

This year, archaeologists discovered an intact amphora (a vaselike container), a small table jug (known as a lagynos) and a rectangular chiseled stone, probably a statuette base. Digging on the seafloor, they found broken ceramics, a piece of a bone flute, and broken bits of glass, iron and bronze. A section of bronze furniture may be the arm of a throne, according to the Woods Hold Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). A small glass piece looks to be a pawn in a chesslike game. [See Photos of the Ancient Antikythera Shipwreck and Treasure]

“This shipwreck is far from exhausted,” project co-director Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist at WHOI, said in a statement. “Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the ‘1 percent’ lived in the time of Caesar.”


The first sponge diver to explore the wreck in 1900, Ilias Stadiatis, managed to bring a bronze arm from a statue up 164 feet (50 meters) to the surface. The Greek government quickly sent naval support to the area, and divers brought up 36 marble statues of heroes and gods, along with other luxury items and skeletons belonging to the crew and passengers. In 1901, the divers brought up an incredible astronomical calendar, the Antikythera mechanism, which could determine the positions of heavenly bodies like Mercury, Venus and Mars. It remains the most complex ancient item ever found, according to the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports.

Archaeologists use a water dredge and submersible pump 180 feet (55 meters) below the ocean surface at the Antikythera shipwreck site. Ten archaeologists performed 61 dives over 10 days in 2015, using closed-circuit rebreathers and trimix breathing gases.
Credit: Brett Seymour, EUA/ARGO

The ministry and the WHOI are currently involved in a long-term project at the site. In 2014, archaeologists conducted the first modern scientific excavation of the wreck, creating a three-dimensional map of the site. But little time was spent in the depths with the wreck because of bad weather.

This year, archaeologists were able to spend 40 hours diving amid the wreckage. Along with the cargo they discovered, the researchers also found a lead salvage ring and two lead anchor stocks, lead hull sheathing and nails and wood from the ship itself.

“We were very lucky this year, as we excavated many finds within their context, which gave us the opportunity to take full advantage of all the archaeological information they could provide,” diving archaeologist Theotokis Theodoulou, of the Hellenic Ministry of Culture and Sports, said in the WHOI statement.

Artifact bonanza

The archaeologists used last year’s 3D map as a guide; a remotely operated vehicle recorded their dives and enabled communications with the surface.

A metal detector survey revealed metal objects scattered over an area of 131 feet by 164 feet (40 meters by 50 meters), reflecting the huge size of the ship. The researchers used a submersible dredge and pump to dig nine trenches in this area, bringing more than 50 new artifacts to the surface.

Digging for Treasure

Credit: Hellenic Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and WHOI
Here a researcher examines the ship’s anchor. Divers will be able to explore much more of the wreck using the Exosuit.

Researchers are now studying these objects, subjecting the contents of the ceramic jars to DNA analysis to find out what kind of food, drink or perfumes are inside. They also plan to analyze the lead objects to learn where the lead was mined.

Diving to the Wreck

Credit: Brett Seymour, Copyright: Return to Antikythera 2014
Divers also explored the undersea wreckage using rebreather technology, which recycles air and allowed them to stay underwater for up to three hours at a time to dig up some artifacts, like the lagynos shown here.

Follow Stephanie Pappas on Twitter and Google+. Follow us@livescience,Facebook & Google+. Original article on Live Science

Scientists Identify Mysterious, Sword-Filled Caribbean Shipwreck

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags , on May 15, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Scientists Identify Mysterious, Sword-Filled Caribbean Shipwreck

Posted: 05/13/2015 3:02 pm EDT Updated: 05/13/2015 3:59 pm EDT

In 2011 archaeologists happened upon a stunningly well-preserved shipwreck off the coast of Panama. The wreckage, a mere 40 feet underwater, was untouched by looters and still carrying a full load of tools and weapons.

Now, after years of work, scientists finally know the ship’s story.


The wreckage has been identified as a Spanish merchant ship by the name of Nuestra Señora de Encarnación, which met its watery grave in 1681 during a storm at the mouth of Panama’s Chagres River. The Mexican-built vessel sailed as part of the Tierra Firme fleet, one of the fleets that fed Spain’s colonial economy,researchers told National Geographic.

The Tierra Firme fleet and the New Spain fleet carried an estimated 16 million pesos’ worth of precious metals to Spain from the Americas every year between 1590 to 1600. Between 1521 and 1660, Spain imported more than 36 million pounds of silver and 400,000 pounds of gold from its colonies, according to one estimate.

These ships were the backbone of the Spanish colonies,” Fritz Hanselmann, an underwater archaeologist at the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, told National Geographic.

This ship is particularly exciting for scientists because it’s well preserved and can teach archaeologists how these ancient vessels were constructed, added Hanselmann, who is helping to analyze the find. “Ships that were built hundreds of years ago didn’t come with blueprints,” he said.

Artifacts found on the ship include more than 100 boxes of sword blades, scissors, mule shoes, nails, ceramics, wooden barrels and lead seals, according to a release from Texas State University.

Researchers stumbled upon the remains of Encarnación while searching for five other wrecks believed to be in the area that were overseen by Captain Henry Morgan — yes, that Captain Morgan — and disappeared in 1671 en route to a siege on Panama City.

See more photos of the Encarnación find below:

Meadows Center for Water and the Environment


170-Year-Old Champagne Recovered from the Bottom of the Sea

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on April 22, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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170-Year-Old Champagne Recovered from the Bottom of the Sea

Every wine connoisseur knows the value of an aged wine, but few get the opportunity to sample 170-year-old Champagne from the bottom of the sea.

In 2010, divers found 168 bottles of bubbly while exploring a shipwreck off the Finnish Aland archipelago in the Baltic Sea. When they tasted the wine, they realized it was likely more than a century old.

A chemical analysis of the ancient libation has revealed a great deal about how this 19th-century wine was produced. [The 7 Most Mysterious Archaeological Finds on Earth]

“After 170 years of deep-sea aging in close-to-perfect conditions, these sleeping Champagne bottles awoke to tell us a chapter of the story of winemaking,” the researchers wrote in the study, published today (April 20) in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Deep sea bubbly

In the study, led by Philippe Jeandet, a professor of food biochemistry at the University of Reims, Champagne-Ardenne in France, researchers analyzed the chemical composition of the wine from the shipwreck and compared it to that of modern Champagne.

Unexpectedly, “we found that the chemical composition of this 170-year-old Champagne … was very similar to the composition of modern Champagne,” Jeandet told Live Science. However, there were a few notable differences, “especially with regard to the sugar content of the wine,” he said.

Engravings on the part of the cork touching the wine suggest it was produced by the French Champagne houses Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin, Heidsieck, and Juglar, the researchers said.

ancient champagne cork
Cork from one of the ancient Champagne bottles, showing its maker.
Credit: Visit Åland

A chemical analysis of the wine revealed that it contained a lot more sugar than modern Champagnes. The 170-year-old beverage had a sugar content of about 20 ounces per gallon (150 grams per liter), whereas today’s Champagnes have only about 0.8 ounces to 1 oz/gal (6 to 8 g/L).

This high sugar content was characteristic of people’s tastes at the time, the researchers said. In fact, in 19th-century Russia, it was common for people to add sugar to their wine at dinner, Jeandet added.

“This is why Madame Clicquot decided to create a specific Champagne with about 300 grams [of sugar] per liter,” which is about six to seven times the sugar content of Coca-Cola, he said.

In addition, the Champagne contained higher concentrations of certain minerals — including iron, copper and table salt (sodium chloride) — than modern wines.

The wine likely contained high levels of iron because 19th-century winemakers used vessels that contained metal, the researchers said. The high copper levels likely came from the use of copper sulfate as an anti-fungal agent sprayed on the grapes — the beginnings of what later became known as the “Bordeaux mixture.”

Although one of the bottles from the shipwreck was contaminated by seawater, this is probably not the reason for the wine’s high salt content. Rather, it’s more likely it came from the sodium-chloride-containing gelatin used to stabilize the wine, Jeandet said.

‘Spicy,’ ‘leathery’ taste

The chemical composition closely matched the descriptions of wine-tasting experts, who described the aged Champagne as “grilled, spicy, smoky and leathery, together with fruity and floral notes.”

The researchers were amazed by how well the wine had aged under the sea.TheChampagne from the shipwreck was remarkably well preserved, as evidenced by the low levels of acetic acid, the characteristic vinegary taste of spoiled wine.

The wine was found at a depth of more than 160 feet (50 meters), where it’s dark and exposed to a constant, low temperature — “perfect slow-aging conditions for good evolution of wine,” Jeandet said.

Some winemakers are already experimenting with aging bottles of wine in seawater for extended periods.

“I’m sure there are people that are ready to spend a lot of money to have the privilege of saying to their friends, ‘I put on the table a bottle that has been aged 10 years at the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea,’” he said.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter. Follow us @livescience, Facebook &Google+. Original article on Live Science.

Photos: World War II-era Aircraft Carrier Discovered

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on April 20, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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Photos: World War II-era Aircraft Carrier Discovered

WWII Shipwreck: Haunting Photos of the Battleship Musashi’s Remains

Posted in UNDERWATER ARCHAEOLOGY with tags on March 7, 2015 by 2eyeswatching

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  • WWII Shipwreck: Haunting Photos of the Battleship Musashi’s Remains