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The News

Spain backs inclusion of galleon trade route to World Heritage List Email

Archaeological
Sunday, 05 July 2015 19:55

By Manny Galvez (The Philippine Star)

BALER, Aurora, Philippines – The Spanish government is joining the Philippines and Mexico in pushing for the nomination of the route of the galleon trade to the World Heritage List.

Spanish Ambassador Luis Antonio Calvo said nominating the route of the galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco to the “Memory of the World” program of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a way of acknowledging “the first steps in the long road to global trade.”

Read more: Spain backs inclusion of galleon trade route to World Heritage List

Archaeologist arrested for pilfering digs Email

News
Thursday, 02 July 2015 11:58

THESSALONIKI, Greece — Greek police say they have arrested a former archaeologist suspected of forming a private collection of more than 500 artefacts allegedly pilfered from state-run excavations that he supervised.

Police said Thursday that they found "very valuable" items ranging from prehistoric times to the Ottoman Turkish occupation of Greece in a search of the 52-year-old man's house in the northern town of Kozani.

They included intact pottery vases, figurines, inscribed marble plaques and a bronze spearhead — as well as a large number of pottery shards.

Police says the suspect, whose name was not disclosed, said he had kept the finds for his personal satisfaction, and there was no indication that he had intended to sell them.

All antiquities discovered in Greece are considered state property.

 

 

 

Treasure hunter keeps waters roiling with new finds, new claims Email

Treasure
Thursday, 25 June 2015 10:48

Underwater explorer Barry Clifford presents a silver bar he believes is part of the treasure of the pirate Captain Kidd, to the president of Madagascar, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, left, on Sainte Marie Island, Madagascar, in this May, 7, 2015, photo.

 

BY MARTIN VOGLTHE ASSOCIATED PRESS

SAINTE MARIE ISLAND, Madagascar — Barry Clifford brought up the heavy silver ingot from the bottom of a bay as the president of Madagascar waited to receive it.

The dramatic moment was just one in a lifetime of adventures that the American has experienced as he has scoured ocean beds for sunken treasure — but also another example of what critics say is his excessive hunger for the limelight.

Recorded by the gathered press, the moment off the coast of Madagascar last month was important for Clifford, who calls himself “an underwater Sherlock Holmes,” for he believes the bar once belonged to 17th century pirate Captain Kidd. Clifford, a fit 70 year old who dives regularly, has also roiled the waters among the marine archaeology community.

In a recent telephone interview from his home in Provincetown, Massachusetts, Clifford described the fascination that drives him in travels that have taken him from Uruguay to Venezuela, Scotland and elsewhere.

“You’ve got these incredible, intoxicating mysteries that are screaming at you,” he said.

“And I just think — give me a break, how can anyone not want to go looking for that?”

Clifford’s most well-known find is close to his home and the area where he grew up.

Read more: Treasure hunter keeps waters roiling with new finds, new claims

The Mystery of the Antikythera Shipwreck Further Unfolds Email

Archaeological
Tuesday, 23 June 2015 05:51

The Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, in collaboration with the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has completed the digital underwater surveying and dimensional precision display of the Shipwreck of Antikythera

 The Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities, in collaboration with the American Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, has completed the digital underwater surveying and dimensional precision display of the Shipwreck of Antikythera

 

Archaeologists now can put all the findings together and draw conclusions about the possible relationship between the two wreck positions. The detailed mapping creates a clearer picture of the relationship between the two sites, while the placement of the findings in the now imprinted area enhances the understanding of all the findings in the two positions.

The mapping was done by a specialized team of the University of Sydney using the autonomous underwater vehicle Sirius.

Resources for the investigation/excavation were provided by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, American, European and Greek organizations, to meet the needs in qualified technical and scientific personnel. The Catherine Laskaridis Foundation contributed greatly by offering the vessel that was used as the basis of the research team.

The Ephorate of Underwater Activities and its partners will continue research at the end of the summer season. The Antikythera shipwreck research is conducted on a five-year plan.

Courtesy: Greek Reporter

Archaeologists identify sunken 1681 Spanish shipwreck off Panamanian coast Email

Archaeological
Friday, 15 May 2015 10:51

More than three years after uncovering a shipwreck buried in the sand off the Caribbean coast of Panama near the mouth of the Chagres River, ongoing analysis and interpretation has led archaeologists to identify the shipwreck as Nuestra Señora de Encarnación. 

A colonial Spanish nao, or merchant ship, Encarnación was one of several ships that sank in 1681 when a storm engulfed the Tierra Firme fleet en route to Portobelo, Panama from Cartagena, Colombia. Frederick “Fritz” Hanselmann, research faculty and chief underwater archaeologist with The Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, leads the research team.

"This truly is an exciting and intriguing shipwreck," said Hanselmann. "The site basically consists of the entire lower portion of the ship’s hull and cargo in the hold, which includes a wide variety of artifacts: wooden barrels, over 100 wooden boxes containing sword blades, scissors, mule shoes, nails, ceramics, and other material culture, such as lead seals that are all that remain of perishable cargo."

Read more: Archaeologists identify sunken 1681 Spanish shipwreck off Panamanian coast

Shipwreck company suing state over 'treasure' linked to Blackbeard: $14M in contract dispute Email

Archaeological
Wednesday, 13 May 2015 11:52

RALEIGH, North Carolina — Nearly 300 years after the pirate Blackbeard's flagship sank off the North Carolina coast, a shipwreck-hunting company and the state are battling over treasure linked to the vessel — but they're fighting with legal filings, not cutlasses, and the treasure is $14 million in disputed revenue and contract violations.

The Florida-based company, Intersal Inc., found little loot when it discovered the Queen Anne's Revenge almost 20 years ago, but it eventually gained a contract for rights to photos and videos of the wreck and of the recovery, study and preservation of its historic artifacts.

The state, meanwhile, has created a tourist industry around Blackbeard and his ship since the vessel's discovery in 1996. That includes exhibits at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort, which attracts about 300,000 visitors a year, according to the Queen Anne's Revenge website. The artifacts, such as a 2,000-pound cannon, also go on tour to other state museums. The state also posts photos and videos on websites and social media sites.

Read more: Shipwreck company suing state over 'treasure' linked to Blackbeard: $14M in contract dispute

INAC requests support for UNESCO Email

Archaeological
Monday, 13 April 2015 17:46

PANAMA: The director of the National Institute of Culture (INAC), Mariana Núñez, untied the current administration of the decisions made by the previous government in relation to the project 'identification, retrieval and rescue Galleon San Jose'.

Postcard used by UNESCO to promote the Convention on Underwater Cultural Heritage

Among the decisions taken during the management of María Eugenia Herrera (INAC) and Sandra Cerrud (National Directorate of History and DNPH Heritage), was granted a permit to the company Marine Research del Istmo SA (imdi) for rescue and sharing wreck of the galleon sunk in the Gulf of Panama in 1631, with the greatest treasure until then sent to Spain from the colonies.

Read more: INAC requests support for UNESCO

Tampa treasure hunter Odyssey Marine gives up control to Mexican firm Email

Treasure
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 13:02

 

By Robert Trigaux

Tampa's Odyssey Marine Exploration, the treasure-hunting business whose bottom line can resemble the shipwrecks it is so good at finding, hopes to salvage its own future in a company overhaul.

Odyssey unveiled a complex financial deal that gives up control of the company to a Mexican iron and coal company. It's a sign of how precarious Odyssey's financial predicament has become.

Case in point: Odyssey on Monday said it lost $5.2 million in the fourth quarter, $26.5 million for all of 2014.

Worse, the sea exploration company's publicly traded shares dropped well below $1 last year and lately have hovered near 60 cents. In a business that requires lots of capital — it's expensive to search for small things deep under the ocean — Odyssey's need for more investor money has proved a constant struggle.

Read more: Tampa treasure hunter Odyssey Marine gives up control to Mexican firm

Bruce Silverstein avoids sanctions in emeralds case Email

News
Tuesday, 24 March 2015 12:42

Maureen Milford, The News Journal

Wilmington lawyer Bruce L. Silverstein will not be sanctioned for bad-faith litigation in the case of a phony sunken treasure in the Gulf of Mexico, a federal judge has ruled.

U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King of the Southern District of Florida denied a sanctions case against Silverstein brought by a Key West treasure salvage company, saying the company failed to establish by clear and convincing evidence that Silverstein knew of "corrupt criminal conspiracy."

Neither was it proven that Silverstein acted in bad faith in the case or was willfully blind to a fraud involving the fabricated discovery of thousands of emeralds on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico.

Yet, in what lawyers describe as highly unusual, King referred the matter to the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida "for such action as in his discretion he deems appropriate."

"I've not seen that done in a civil case in a long, long time, if I've seen it done," said Thomas Reed, a professor emeritus at Widener University School of Law.

Read more: Bruce Silverstein avoids sanctions in emeralds case

Archaeologists condemn National Geographic over claims of Honduran 'lost cities' Email

Archaeological
Thursday, 12 March 2015 22:13

More than two dozen archaeologists and anthropologists have written an open letter of protest against the “sensationalisation” of their fields, with one accusing National Geographic of reverting to “a colonialist discourse” in announcing researchers had found two city-like sites in the deep jungles of Honduras.

They also say National Geographic has ignored decades of research that suggests Honduras was home to a vibrant chain of kingless societies, which merged qualities of the Maya to the north with other people’s less stratified, more equal cultures.

The scholars criticize National Geographic and the media for what they describe as the aggrandizement of a single expedition at the expense of years of research by scientists and decades of support from indigenous people of the dense rainforests in Honduras’ Mosquitia region.

John Hoopes, a signatory and professor of anthropology at the University of Kansas, said that National Geographic had shown “a disrespect for indigenous knowledge”. The expedition was co-coordinated by two American film-makers, National Geographic and Honduras’ national institute of anthropology.

Read more: Archaeologists condemn National Geographic over claims of Honduran 'lost cities'