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Shipwreck hunter says province killed salvage industry, heritage research Email

Friday, 06 November 2015 08:17
Last Updated on Friday, 06 November 2015 13:39

Terry Dwyer, a heavy equipment salesman and part-time diver who lives in the Eastern Shore community of Spanish Ship Bay, says in a new book that the province made a ‘colossal mistake’ five years ago when it repealed the Treasure Trove Act. (Contributed)


NOVA SCOTIA: Heavy equipment salesman and part-time diver Terry Dwyer says in a new book the province made a “colossal mistake” when it repealed the Treasure Trove Act five years ago, effectively killing the shipwreck salvage industry and cutting off any new research into Nova Scotia’s undersea heritage.

Dwyer’s book — called Wreck Hunter 2: The Adventure Continues — comes out Saturday and is part adventure tale, part technical manual and part political polemic on the government’s decision.

“The political part is a necessary evil, because there’s so much misinformation out there, and it’s a question that there’s no short answer for,” he said Thursday in an interview from his home in Spanish Ship Bay on the Eastern Shore.

“I get asked about it a lot every time there’s a shipwreck found, but you can’t just answer it in a sentence. That’s why I put that chapter in.”

Until 2010, divers were able to apply for a treasure trove licence from the province, which would allow them to salvage artifacts and other items from shipwrecks, Dwyer explains in the book.

While divers were allowed to keep 90 per cent of the treasure they found, they had to hand over all artifacts to the province first, leaving mostly coins that could be kept, making the adventure less lucrative than many people believe, he wrote.

Read more: Shipwreck hunter says province killed salvage industry, heritage research

Ship graveyard piled with Ancient Greek, Roman wrecks found in Aegean Email

Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:33
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:38

Is this the Bermuda Triangle of the ancient world? Or the home of the mythical, alluring Sirens? Archaeologists have discovered 22 shipwrecks, some as old as 2500 years, piled up among a group of tiny islands in the Aegean.

Magical or mundane, the carnage found in an area of just 44 square kilometres among 13 small islands in the eastern Aegean represents an extraordinary window into the past.

Such carnage brings to life the ancient myth of the Sirens — alluring but dangerous spirits who took on the guise of beautiful young women, seducing sailors onto treacherous rocks with their songs.

Not even the Ancient Greek’s greatest hero — Odysseus — was able to resist their enticing voices.

But, as always, there is a more practical explanation.

While one island has the ominous name of “Man Eater”, the cluster of sparsely populated outcrops offered an endless series of bays — a rare safe anchorage for ancient mariners and their unwieldy, heavily laden vessels. Particularly in rough weather.

“This is a wonderful discovery,” says Flinders University maritime archeologist Dr Wendy van Duivenvoorde. “Normally you find a shipwreck here and there, from different periods — but finding 22 that are quite close in space will give a beautiful cross section of history.”

Read more: Ship graveyard piled with Ancient Greek, Roman wrecks found in Aegean

Spain returns pre-Columbian artifacts Email

Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:03
Last Updated on Thursday, 29 October 2015 15:03

Spain returns to Ecuador Wednesday 49 pre-Columbian artifacts recovered by police in 2003 following an investigation into money laundering during a ceremony at the Museum of America in Madrid, where they had remained guarded.

The works are part of a collection of 885 pieces that were taken over from a Colombian marriage in 2003 as a result of the operation called Florence, where a Colombian family clan, based in Spain, dedicated to drug trafficking and money laundering was dismantled.

A bleaching methods used by the organization was the purchase of works of art, such as those included in the collection seized more than a decade ago, which had been bought in the 1990s in different stores purchase and sale of art and exported Colombia illegally.

The expert studies on the collection of works determined that they had "an exceptional value, both culturally and economically to be kept in an almost perfect state and represent almost all the pre-Columbian cultures," according to a statement from the Spanish police.

The majority of artifacts were returned Wednesday to Ecuador, and are made of ceramic, covering virtually the entire time range of the cultures of Ecuador and mainly represent shamans, characters with ceremonial robes and women praying. "It was imperative for our country to recover these pieces "to rescue" our historic identity and well fight the illegal trafficking of cultural heritage," said Ecuador's ambassador in Madrid, Miguel Calahorrano, at the ceremony held in Museum of America, the presence of the director general of the Spanish police, Ignacio Cosidó.

Before the delivery of these 49 works, Spain returned last year about 700 pieces and Colombia were identified among the 885 works seized five pieces from Panama, while the rest were considered fakes.

Courtesy: Diario Uno



Mysterious Ancient Maya Mural Keeps Its Secrets Email

Sunday, 11 October 2015 19:34
Last Updated on Sunday, 11 October 2015 19:52

Archaeologists have uncovered some inexplicable finds in a rare case involving the discovery of a Maya wall painting, or mural, at a shrine complex at the ancient site of Tulix Mul in northern Belize.

Buried anciently under a fill of large uncut stones at the beginning of the Maya Late Classic period, a vaulted room within a monumental structure features a plastered wall that hides two successive wall paintings, an unusual find for archaeologists investigating Maya remains. The discovery was first made in 2013 as a team of archaeologists, students and volunteers under the Blue Creek Archaeological Project with the Maya Research Program (MRP) and the University of Texas at Tyler began excavating a structure that showed intrusion by a looter's trench at the site of Tulix Mul, which is associated with another site known as Nojol Nah, a site where MRP has been excavating for years. Although excavations at this structure revealed the plastered, vaulted room, the biggest prize was the evidence of the wall painting, hidden beneath the plaster. Through time, small fragments had exfoliated from the plaster, revealing the underlying presence of a polychrome, fine-line mural. The mural style appeared generally similar to that found years before by other archaeologists at San Bartolo in Guatemala. Like San Bartolo, there are only a few other known Maya murals found in Central America. Aside from their artistic beauty, they have provided significant new information about Maya art, religious concepts, trade and interaction. The Tulix Mul mural may prove to be equally informative, especially as the site investigators suspect that another rubble-filled room (still unexcavated) may also contain a mural.

Read more: Mysterious Ancient Maya Mural Keeps Its Secrets

Search for Capt. Cook's Shipwrecked Endeavor Continues in Newport Harbor Email

Sunday, 11 October 2015 14:02
Last Updated on Sunday, 11 October 2015 14:03


NEWPORT RI, A team of marine archaeologists, scientists and volunteers continued their methodical work mapping shipwrecks in Newport Harbor last month in an ongoing effort to find and positively identify Capt. Cook’s famous vessel, the HM Bark Endeavor.

Eighteenth Century British Explorer Capt. James Cook explored more of the world than any man who ever lived and many researchers believe the Endeavor, his most-famous vessel, is among a fleet of 13 British transport ships sunk during the Revolutionary War in Newport Harbor.

When the vessel is believed to have been sunk in 1778, it by then had changed hands and was known as The Lord Sandwich. During a five day fieldwork exercise in September, members of the Rhode Island Marine Archaeology Project and the Australian National Maritime Museum mapped the ninth shipwreck site and completed a pre-disturbance site map of an 18th century ballast pile.

Read more: Search for Capt. Cook's Shipwrecked Endeavor Continues in Newport Harbor

Olmec carving stolen decades ago in Mexico found in France Email

Saturday, 26 September 2015 14:58
Last Updated on Saturday, 26 September 2015 15:11


A nearly 3,000-year-old carving stolen more than four decades ago from a remote area of southern Mexico has been recovered in France.

The Olmec carving dating to around 900 B.C. had been chipped off the rock face sometime between the arrival of an archaeological team in 1968 and 1972, when the team returned to the area. It resurfaced recently in France under unclear circumstances.

John Clark, a professor of archaeology at Brigham Young University who learned about the find Thursday, said the carved sculpture showed the extent of the Olmec's reach in an area of Chiapas better known for ties to the Maya. In the decades since the theft, he said, scholars have made due with a replica created by examining archive photos of the piece.

The Olmec are best known for their enormous carved heads and are considered one of the founding cultures of Mesoamerica.

Read more: Olmec carving stolen decades ago in Mexico found in France

Marine Archaeologists Excavate Greek Antikythera Shipwreck Email

Friday, 25 September 2015 11:49
Last Updated on Friday, 25 September 2015 17:18

The 2015 expedition marked the first time archaeologists were able to join specialist divers in descending to the 55-meter (180 feet) deep site. The ten-man dive team used advanced technical diving equipment including closed-circuit rebreathers and trimix breathing gases, performing 61 dives in 10 days of diving on the wreck. (Brett Seymour, EUA/ARGO )


Archaeologists excavating the famous ancient Greek shipwreck that yielded the Antikythera mechanism have recovered more than 50 items including a bronze armrest (possibly part of a throne), remains of a bone flute, fine glassware, luxury ceramics, a pawn from an ancient board game, and several elements of the ship itself.  

“This shipwreck is far from exhausted,” reports project co-Director Dr. Brendan Foley, a marine archaeologist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). “Every single dive on it delivers fabulous finds, and reveals how the ‘1 percent’ lived in the time of Caesar.” 

The shipwreck dates to circa 65 B.C., and was discovered by Greek sponge fishermen in 1900 off the southwestern Aegean island of Antikythera. They salvaged 36 marble statues of mythological heroes and gods; a life-sized bronze statue of an athlete; pieces of several more bronze sculptures; scores of luxury items; and skeletal remains of crew and passengers. The wreck also relinquished fragments of the world’s first computer: the Antikythera Mechanism, a geared mechanical device that encoded the movements of the planets and stars and predicted eclipses. 

Read more: Marine Archaeologists Excavate Greek Antikythera Shipwreck

Metal Detectorist finds 5th century skeleton with shield boss Email

Monday, 14 September 2015 09:32
Last Updated on Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:49

UNITED KINGDOM - Metal detectorists Dave Derby and Alan Standish found the skeleton in a field near Nether Heyford after they picked up a signal from a shield boss that was buried with the body.

Archeologists have excavated the skeleton and analysis has revealed it is likely to be more than 1,500 years old.





The site, known as Whitehall Farm, where the skeleton was found is near to where a Roman villa was located 15 years ago.

Steve Young, an archeologist who led the excavation, said: “We believe it is 5th or 6th century as the burial seems to have followed pagan rituals.

“In those days men tended to be buried with a weapon of some sort. Other skeletons we have found in the area have been buried with swords.”

Further analysis of the site has also revealed some more human remains, believed to be that of a child. A brooch was also found in the grave.

Mr. Derby, who has been metal detecting for 42 years and was the person who uncovered the Roman villa, said: “It is a fascinating hobby. You never know what you are going to find.”

The last major dig on the Whitehall Farm site, which is owned by Nick Adams, was in 2012.

Since the first discoveries in 1996, volunteer archaeologists from around the world have offered their time to dig trenches, uncovering more than 250,000 artefacts in just over a decade.

The historic haul of goods includes 560 coins, 20 brooches, six rings, 32,000 animal bones, 20,000 fragments of pot and many other finds.


Courtesy: Daventry Express

Huge Ancient Greek City found underwater in the Aegean Sea Email

Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:51
Last Updated on Tuesday, 01 September 2015 11:56

By April Holloway

The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, Education and Religious Affairs has announced that remnants of a massive Bronze Age city have been discovered submerged in the Aegean Sea. The settlement, which dates back approximately 4,500 years, covers an area of 12 acres and consists of stone defensive structures, paved surfaces, pathways, towers, pottery, tools, and other artifacts.


The discovery was made by a team of experts from the Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, University of Geneva and the Swiss School of Archaeology at Kiladha Bay on the Peloponnese Peninsula south of Athens, while they were searching for evidence for the oldest village in Europe. While they were hoping to find traces dating back at least 8,000 years, the finding of the ancient city is no less significant.

Read more: Huge Ancient Greek City found underwater in the Aegean Sea

Relic hunters vital but troublesome for Civil War history Email

Friday, 07 August 2015 08:09
Last Updated on Friday, 07 August 2015 13:25


 Photo by John Rawlston /Times Free Press


by Ben Benton

Civil War artifacts in the last century have gone from common leftovers of yesteryear to historic relics subject to federal laws that can land unauthorized history hunters behind bars. 

As laws have changed, so have people's perceptions, and some history buffs believe reality television shows like "American Digger" could be fueling a shift from responsible archaeology to profit-seeking treasure hunting. 

Two Tennessee men recently were sentenced to 30 months in federal prison for illegally excavating and collecting artifacts from sites in Marion and Hardin counties in Tennessee and in Jackson County, Ala. 

Dr. Anthony Hodges, president of Friends of the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park and a local Civil War collector, has as many relics and images from the conflict as some museums. 

Hodges said he hasn't been an active relic hunter for 20 years but he defends relic hunting on private land. Those artifacts might be lost to time if not for the people with metal detectors who ask landowners for permission to look, he said. 

"I'm not down on relic hunters. In fact, I'll say a good portion — and perhaps all — of what we know about Civil War artifacts themselves come from the relic hunters. They're the ones who write the books," he said. "The academics don't share that information. 

"That said, I'm a law-abiding guy," Hodges said. "I've never dug on national park property, and if anybody's caught doing it they need to be prosecuted." 

Read more: Relic hunters vital but troublesome for Civil War history