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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Emily Sharpe
Museum professionals and archaeologists met in London today to discuss how to tackle the growing issue of what to do with archaeological archives in the UK as institutions rapidly run out of space to store them. In fact, many museums have stopped acquiring these types of collections, even though excavations continue to be big business.
“We have archival material in museums that are becoming increasingly inaccessible because of the lack of specialist archaeology curators and we have museums that are ceasing to collect this material which has created a backlog that has nowhere to go,” said Duncan Brown, the head of archaeological archives at English Heritage, who was one of the speakers at the Museums Association’s conference “Dig It! Museums and Archaeology”, held at the British Museum on Friday. A 2012 report on the subject, by the consultant Rachel Edwards for the Society for Museum Archaeologists and English Heritage, stated that there are more than 9,000 un-depositable archives in the UK.
BY ERIC RUSSELL
A California businessman who last year partnered with Gorham treasure hunter Greg Brooks on the ill-fated salvage of a shipwreck off Cape Cod has ended the partnership.
Don Rodocker, CEO of Seabotix, a San Diego producer of remote-operated vehicles, said this week that he saw “no way to go forward” after revelations that Brooks’ chief researcher forged documents intended to prove there was treasure aboard the SS Port Nicholson.
“No one is ever going to fund him again,” Rodocker said of Brooks, who has been salvaging shipwrecks for three decades but has yet to find anything of substantial value.
Rodocker declined to say how much money he invested in Brooks’ enterprise.
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