Truth be told, I’ve been pretty distracted the past couple of weeks. But ships continue to wreck and shipwrecks continue to inundate our daily lives. So here’s some of the shipwreck material that’s been piling up in my inbox.
The Huffington Post ran an article about the possibilities and problems facing the approximately 10,000 wrecks scattered around Indonesia. The age-old debate over salvage rights and cultural heritage is playing as the Indonesian government “wrangles over a new policy on underwater heritage.” The archipelago is one of the world’s great wreck traps and the nation allows for-profit excavations, to the pleasure of treasure hunters and the horror of historians and archaeologists. I for one hope the government begins to treat shipwrecks as the finite cultural resources they are rather than just “another resource to exploit.” It’s a fascinating article and well worth a read.
On a lighter note, it appears Alexandra Roach, a “rising Welsh star,” will be playing a shipwreck survivor washed ashore near a small English town in the new historical series Hunderby.
Underwater archaeologists from Indiana University report good progress towards locating the 1725 wreck of the Spanish merchant ship Nuestra Senora de Begona. While they still haven’t found the wreck, they’re apparently in the “spill field.”
Further north, a group of divers in Grand Haven, Michigan announced their discovery of a 19th-century two-masted schooner in 350′ of water. Apparently, the 138-year-old wreck is in great condition. The Michigan Shipwreck Research Association (MSRA) found the wreck–thought to be the St. Peter–in October and have been diving it ever since. google it and you’ll find some great videos (videos I was not able to embed here)
At the nearby (relatively) Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Joe Lucente with Ohio Sea Grant discussed the development of http://www.ohioshipwrecks.org — Shipwrecks and Maritime Tales of the Lake Erie Coastal Ohio Trail.
In Cornwall, England Todd Stevens, “an experienced shipwreck hunter from the Isle of Scilly,” recently stumbled upon a wreck while walking the beach at Annet. Stevens was prepared (as beachwalked in Cornwall have been for hundreds of years). He quickly donned diving equipment and “within an hour, he had found the wreck of a ship which sank with just one survivor and had lain untouched on the seabed for nearly 130 years.
“It’s just a lump of wood with some nails in it,” said Mr Stevens. “But to me, it’s just the beginning of the story.” Apparently he solved it. Kudos.
Another story is emerging from the remains of a Roman shipwreck sunk off the Italian beach resort Marausa Lido. Archaeologists have apparently found evidence of rampant smuggling about the 1700-year-old shipwreck. Pretty fascinating stuff–check out the article here.
Shipwrecks are more pressing topics in Savannah, Georgia and Upper Marlboro, Maryland. In the first case, shipwreck remains have gotten in the way of a planned harbor expansion and a detailed report commissioned by the Army Corps of Engineers just came out. In Maryland, officials are getting ready to excavate the supposed wreck of a War of 1812 warship (the scuttled USS Scorpion). The effort is part of the state’s commemoration of the conflict’s bicentennial.
And there’s more. Lots more. But that’s all I’ve got time for today. But before pressing “publish”–I had to add some of the best Titanic articles of early April. On the Titanic getting UNESCO protection on April 15 read this. Hope this is the last you’ve heard about the Titanic? Read this about visiting the site or this about the planned Titanic II set to hit the high seas in a couple of years. But this article takes the cake–it’s the story of a kosher delit “born of a shipwreck” or the shipwreck (aka Titanic).