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Shipwrecks OK to visit, but don’t take artifacts Email

Sunday, 02 September 2012 11:59
Last Updated on Sunday, 02 September 2012 12:10



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Scattered on the sandy bottom about 11 feet deep near Biscayne National Park’s Elliott Key are numerous ceramic shards guarded by schools of gray snapper and grunts. The dusky white and bile green remnants of dinner plates and tea cups don’t look like much and they aren’t worth any money, even to television’s Pawn Stars. But those artifacts and some ancient burned timbers surrounding them have considerable cultural value as living snapshots of a long-ago, unsolved maritime mystery.

Chuck Lawson, archeologist and cultural resources manager at the park for the past two years, would love to identify the ship that carried all that china and find out where it was going and why it sank. But it doesn’t help that divers have been plundering the wreckage illegally for years. And that site, nicknamed “English China,” is one of more than 70 shipwrecks and artifact piles scattered throughout park waters that have been dug up, dredged and pillaged before their origins could be determined.

Read more: Shipwrecks OK to visit, but don’t take artifacts

Archaeologists unravel mysteries of the Mayans in Honduras Email

Saturday, 25 August 2012 13:03
Last Updated on Saturday, 25 August 2012 13:15


By Noé Leiva, AFP

COPÁN, Honduras – Under awnings that protect them from the rain, archeologists excavated rocks from a muddy hill at a new site found in Copán, in northwestern Honduras. The archeologists are determined to decipher a riddle about the disappearance of the Mayans.

About 25 kilometers west of the main group of ruins, in the Río Amarillo Archeological Park, the site was discovered gradually in recent years, thanks to the work of nine experts from Honduras, Guatemala, France and the United States.

“Here it shows that the fall [of the civilization] was abrupt; they left the buildings unfinished, and tools were strewn around, but the question is where did they go to never return?” said French researcher René Viel, during a tour organized by the Tourism Ministry for the international press. The tour is one of the activities put on by the Honduran government to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar on Dec. 21.

Read more: Archaeologists unravel mysteries of the Mayans in Honduras

Recuperating service personnel help uncover Anglo-Saxon treasure trove Email

Saturday, 18 August 2012 15:34
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 August 2012 15:45

operation_nightengaleSoldiers taking part in Operation Nightingale unearthed Anglo-Saxon warriors buried with a range of personal possessions at Barrow Clump


UK - A pioneering project using archaeology to help soldiers wounded in Afghanistan along the road to recovery has made a series of astonishing discoveries.

Operation Nightingale, involving servicemen in a regiment which recruits widely in the Westcountry, has unearthed a treasure trove of Anglo-Saxon finds on Salisbury Plain.

In their latest dig, the soldiers located a major sixth-century burial site at Barrow Clump, uncovering 27 bodies – including Anglo-Saxon warriors – buried with a range of personal possessions.

Artefacts uncovered included shield bosses, broaches, amber and glass beads, spear heads, a silver ring and a wooden drinking vessel with bronze bands.

Read more: Recuperating service personnel help uncover Anglo-Saxon treasure trove

Capt. Scott's Terra Nova shipwreck found off Greenland Email

Saturday, 18 August 2012 15:01
Last Updated on Saturday, 18 August 2012 15:14

ss-terra-nova-schmidtComputer visualization of the SS Terra Nova wreck reconstructed from acoustic data. (Schmidt Ocean Institute)


An American research team has discovered the ship that carried Captain Robert Falcon Scott on his doomed expedition to the Antarctic.

The wreck of SS Terra Nova was found by researchers from the Schmidt Ocean Institute while they were mapping the ocean floor off Greenland.

Captain Scott and his party set off from Cardiff aboard the ship in 1910, hoping to become the first expedition to reach the South Pole.

capt-scottBut the 65-man expedition was beaten by a Norwegian team led by Roald Amundesen, whose party reached the South Pole five weeks before.

Captain Scott disembarked from the ship in Antarctica, planning to return after making his journey to the South Pole.

However disaster struck and Scott and half his team never made it back to the ship.

The Terra Nova, which was originally built as a whaling ship, was re-bought by its original owners and used for seal hunting.

It also supplied U.S. bases in World War II and eventually sank in September 1942.

Mystery object

While mapping the seabed, researchers noted there was a feature that they could not identify.

Upon further inspection, they discovered that the length of the object was 57 metres, which matched the reported length of the Terra Nova.

Marine researcher Leighton Rolley, who was onboard the research vessel, says the find is an "exciting" achievement.

He says researchers were able to lower a camera into the depths to confirm that the anomaly was indeed the sunken ship.

"The camera footage also identified the funnel of the vessel, next to the wreck," he said in a report for the Institute.

"The forecastle of the vessel appeared to be 'peeled' upwards to the port side and at an angle from the rest of the ship."

The team compared the funnel image with historical photographs of the SS Terra Nova.


Courtesy CBC News

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Tikal Temple Damaged by Lightning Email

Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:47
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:56

Edgar-Chan-TikalEdgar Chan, manager of Tikal, assesses damage caused by lightning in the Temple II


PETEN, GUATEMALA - Lightning struck the Temple II at Tikal, causing some damage to its crest, said the manager of that national park, Edgar Aguilar Chan, who has evaluated the damage to begin restoration as soon as possible.

He reported that last Sunday there was a strong storm in the region of Tikal and lightning crashed into the stonework of the temple. He added that the restorers started with a thorough evaluation to establish the seriousness of the damage, because you have to repair before the restarting the rains which are forecast to be heavy for the coming months.

The Temple III or the High Priest was also damaged on the crest of a beam, and deterioration threatened the whole top, because the previous administration never bothered to restore the pre-Hispanic structures, Chan said.

Microflora advances

He referred to the work to improve the conditions of the temples of Tikal and emphasized the problem of the microflora, a small herb that grows in the walls of these structures and cause severe damage due to the fragility of the limestone.

They are currently working on the Temple II to remove all the little vegetation that extends along the walls, a must that had not been done in the past four years. Furthermore, the staircase was removed allowing the tourists climb to the chambers of the pyramid, as it gave an unsightly appearance to the main Plaza. Another staircase was constructed in the rear, so that there is always visitor access to the chambers above.

The Temple II was built 700 years after Christ, in honor of the king's wife Chan Jasaw Kawil.


Courtesy Prensa Libre

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U.S. makes contribution to the archaeological site Kaminaljuyú Email

Thursday, 16 August 2012 11:13
Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2012 12:07

Arnold_ChaconAmbassador Arnold Chacón visits the archaeological park Kaminaljuyú


GUATEMALA CITY – The U.S. government donated U.S. $ 50 thousand to the Ambassador's Fund for Cultural Preservation 2012 for the preservation and restoration of archaeological site Kaminaljuyú.

Barbara Arroyo, coordinator of the archaeological site reported that the funds will be used to finish the cover of two acropolis and start a conservation project for this and hire experts.

U.S. Ambassador Arnold Chacón said that in five years, Guatemala has received $ 1 million for the preservation of cultural heritage.

"We are interested in American cultural heritage as we have here and there is much academic interest of tourists to come and appreciate the past of Guatemala, "said Chacon.

Arroyo welcomed the contribution of the U.S. government after noting that the government allocation to Kaminaljuyú insufficient for the needs of the park.

"The budget is at around Q350 Q500 thousand a year is minimal, and last year we received over 25 thousand visitors, but with the necessary promotion you can get more," the expert said.

Kaminaljuyú is located in Zone 7 of the capital city, and is of the Maya Late Classic period. The site was inhabited in the year 850 AD. C. However, there is documentation that the city has been inhabited since the year 10 of the same era, and that its construction may have started a thousand years earlier.


Courtesy Prensa Libre

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Archaeologists discover the tomb of a Maya prince Email

Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:35
Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 13:50

Mayan_tombArchaeologists from the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have discovered a lavishly adorned tomb of a young prince while excavating in a Maya palace. The discovery was made in a building of the royal palace complex in the Maya city of Uxul, Mexico. The tomb dates from the early 8th century and, in addition to containing the remains of a 20 to 25 years old adult, also revealed numerous valuable burial offerings which point to the noble status of the deceased. © Kai Delvendahl, Uxul Archaeological Project/University of Bonn.

BONN.- Archaeologists from the Department of Anthropology of the Americas at the University of Bonn have been excavating for the past four years together with the Mexican National Institute of Anthropology and History in the Maya city of Uxul in Campeche, Mexico. The aim of the excavation project under the direction of Prof. Dr. Nikolai Grube and Dr. Kai Delvendahl is to investigate the process of centralization and collapse of hegemonic state structures in the Maya Lowlands using the example of a mid-sized classic Maya city (Uxul) and its ties to a supra-regional center (Calakmul). Research at Uxul, located close to the border with Guatemala, is being funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).

Read more: Archaeologists discover the tomb of a Maya prince

Roman shipwreck found with sealed jars of 2,000-year-old food and wine Email

Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:10
Last Updated on Sunday, 12 August 2012 13:22


By Olivia Solon

A 2,000-year-old Roman merchant vessel with a well-preserved cargo including wine and food has been discovered off the coast of Italy.

The ship was first spotted by fisherman, who had pulled some of the amphorae (terracotta, jar-like containers) out of the sea near the town of Varazze with their nets. After tipping off the Carabinieri Subacquei (police divers), the ship was examined using a Pluto remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and later by divers.

They found the vessel to hold around 200 amphorae. When tested they were found to contain a range of perishables including pickled fish, grain, wine and oil. While some of the jars have been broken, it appears that most of them remain sealed. The boat itself is also well-preserved, having been almost entirely covered in sandy mud, although there is some damage caused by trawler nets.

The ship dates from sometime between the 1st Century BC and the 1st Century AD and sank while travelling between Spain and central Italy.

Italian authorities are currently securing the area, preventing fishing and water traffic, until they decide whether or not to raise the vessel. The police are eager to prevent looters from visiting the ship to take "souvenirs".

The discovery comes shortly after the same team found the Transylvania, an English liner that was sunk by a German submarine in May 1917 during World War I.


Courtesy Wired

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'Yo Ho Ho' Divers Find More Pirate Treasure Email

Saturday, 28 July 2012 15:32
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 July 2012 15:45


Underwater Archaeologists dig deep for iconic privateer Captain Henry Morgan's lost Caribbean fleet, find various artefacts

Capt_MorganFor the third year in a row, with the help of the Captain Morgan brand, a team of leading U.S. archaeologists returned to the mouth of the Chagres River in Panama in search of real-life buccaneer Captain Henry Morgan's lost fleet.

The search began in September 2010, when the team discovered six iron cannons belonging to Morgan off the coast of Panama, and continued last summer with the discovery of a 17th century wooden shipwreck, potentially one of the five ships Morgan lost – which included his flagship "Satisfaction" – in 1671 on the shallow Lajas Reef.

This summer, the team returned to Panama to excavate historic artifacts from the shipwreck in hopes of confirming its origin. Throughout the field season, the team recovered a sword, chests, wooden barrels and multiple cargo seals. The artifacts, which are currently housed at Patronato Panama Viejo (Old Panama Trust) in Panama City, will undergo the preservation process before being studied further and verified by London-based experts in English artillery.

"Morgan was one of the most infamous privateers of all time, so for me, this is a chance to use archaeological research to bridge the gap between science and pop culture. Most people associate Captain Morgan with spiced rum, but he was also an iconic historical figure who accomplished incredible feats throughout the Caribbean," said Frederick "Fritz" H. Hanselmann, underwater archaeologist and Research Faculty with the River Systems Institute and the Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University who has been leading the team in an effort to locate, excavate and preserve the remains of Morgan's lost ships.

Press Release

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Century old shipwreck mystery solved Email

Saturday, 28 July 2012 14:38
Last Updated on Saturday, 28 July 2012 15:11


UK - Pete Hodkin was diving what has been known for many years in diving circles as ‘Wreck 355’ when he discovered the ships bell bearing its real name – The SS Ladoga.

The 52-year-old had gone out about five miles as part of a diving party from Mid Herts Divers on board a boat run by Dive 125 based in Eastbourne.

He had dived to the wreck around 25 metres and was inspecting the ship’s anchor chain around 4.30pm last Saturday when he came across what he thought was an old plate buried in the sand.

“I was swimming along when I suddenly saw something round in the sand,” said Pete. “It was in a jumbled up mess of steelwork.

Click here to see dive footage

“At first I thought it was a plate. As I got a bit closer I thought it could be a bucket but as I picked it up I realised it was a bell. And I thought ‘Wow what a find!’

Read more: Century old shipwreck mystery solved