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More cannon found on Alderney Elizabethan wreck Email

Tuesday, 10 December 2013 11:42


Three cannon have already been raised from the site along with 1,000 artefacts


The Alderney Maritime Trust and staff from Bournemouth University dove the site in October, the first time work had been carried out since 2008.

During the dive three cannon and "substantial ship timbers" were found and photographed.

Mike Harrison, coordinator trustee, said more work on the site was going to go ahead next summer.

He said: "Things move very slowly with marine archaeology, the work we've done in the last few years... has been conserving objects."

The unnamed ship sunk in November 1592 and was discovered by local fishermen Bertie Costeril and Fred Shaw in 1977.

The trust was established in 1994 and in 2004 the Duke of York became the group's patron.

Three cannon were among about 1,000 artefacts raised from the site in 2008 and replicas of the cannon were fired as part of tests about the technology of the time.

Two of those cannon have returned to Alderney after conservation work and the third is due to come to the island in the spring.

Other finds from the ship include what could be a Viking navigational aid called a sunstone.

The dive in October started clearing debris left by previous dives and carried out preparation work for a further geophysical survey to be carried out by Bournemouth University in the summer.

Mr Harrison said this survey was dependent on securing the necessary funding.

He said: "It's very, very expensive... we've got a lot of fundraising to do, it's tens of thousands of pounds, conserving a cannon is £10,000 for example."

Courtesy BBC

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Government Prohibits diving on the Samabaj site Email

Wreckdiver's Blog
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 09:20

Government Prohibits diving on the Samabaj site

Yesterday we were informed that the Guatemalan Ministry of Culture and Sports issued an order that prohibits SCUBA Diving on the Samabaj archaeological site, on Lake Atitlan, Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, because the government does not yet have an adequate management plan of the place.

After that resolution was issued entities involved in the management of the Lake conducted a workshop for the creation of this plan.

Adriana Segura, the Directorate General of Cultural and Natural Heritage, said that the aim is to identify problems affecting the archaeological site and take into account the local Indian authorities.

Indigenous mayors of Santiago Atitlán expressed discomfort because they have not been taken into account, noting that they have knowledge and documents containing information about this place, including the ground that the name is Pa'Jaibal '.

They asked that the management plan will be suitable and especially the revenue generated in any way directly benefit the conservation of the site and the local population.

The ruins were first discovered by a local diver back in 1996, and archaeologists showed little interest in the site until just recently.

Once archaeologists realized the size and scope of the submerged Mayan ruins they decided to keep the location a secret in order to prevent any looting of the site.

In July of this year, a team from TreasureWorks, led by explorer and treasure hunter Tommy Vawter successfully located the lost Mayan City of Samabaj and spent several days diving on and exploring the site.

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Florida treasure hunter commits suicide Email

Wednesday, 30 October 2013 10:49

By Chuck Brittain 

A former Westmoreland County man who made national headlines claiming to have found lost treasure off the Florida coast was found dead Tuesday in Ligonier Township after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

The Westmoreland County Coroner's office identified the victim as Jay E. Miscovich, 54, of Key West, Fla.

Deputy Coroner Joshua Zappone said Miscovich was found in the yard of an unoccupied house owned by Dr. Donald Ray of Greensburg.

Zappone described Miscovich as a “drifter” who once lived in the house. Coroner Ken Bacha pronounced him dead at the scene at 5:15 p.m. Miscovich shot himself with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Miscovich, a self-proclaimed “thrill seeker,” claimed that he discovered 154 pounds of emeralds worth untold millions in the Gulf of Mexico, about 40 miles off Key West, Fla., in 2010, according to court documents.

Miscovich, a Latrobe native, his partner and their company, JTR Enterprises, were awaiting a court decision from a federal judge in Florida after they were sued for fraud by rivals for the shipwrecked treasure.

Read more: Florida treasure hunter commits suicide

New technology set to transform archaeology Email

Wednesday, 18 September 2013 11:47


Taking portable XRF into the field to survey for geochemical indicators of human occupation


Obsidian, naturally occurring volcanic glass, is smooth, hard, and far sharper than a surgical scalpel when fractured, making it a highly desirable raw material for crafting stone tools for almost all of human history. The earliest obsidian tools, found in East Africa, are nearly two million years old, and obsidian scalpels are still used today in specialized medical procedures.

The chemistry of obsidian varies from volcano to volcano, and the chemical “fingerprints” allow researchers to match an obsidian artifact to the volcanic origin of its raw material. The chemical tests often involve dedicated analytical laboratories, even nuclear reactors, and take place months or years after an archaeological site has been excavated.

The new process uses an analytical technique called portable X-ray fluorescence (pXRF), which involves a handheld instrument about the size, shape, and weight of a cordless drill. This portability enables archaeologists to identify the origins of stone tools in the field rather than having to send off artifacts to a distant lab. The newly developed method, which saves time and money, will first be used to study obsidian tools made by early humans, including Neanderthals and Homo erectus, tens of thousands of years ago.

Read more: New technology set to transform archaeology

Divers Find Huge Trove of Sunken Treasure off the Dominican Coast Email

Sunday, 15 September 2013 14:58

TAMPA, FL - A Florida based treasure hunting firm has discovered a 450-year-old ship that wrecked off the Dominican coast. Among its valuable cargo -- the single largest cache of 16th century pewter tableware ever discovered. The ship was also carrying extremely rare Spanish silver coins from the late 1400's through the mid 1500's and several gold artifacts. This unprecedented find of 16th century pewter will re-write history books, as many of the maker's marks stamped into the fine pewter have never been seen before. While the value of the gold and silver recovered is easily determined, surprisingly, experts place the value of this four and a half century old pewter collection into the millions. The collection includes plates, platters, porringers, salts and flagons in an array of sizes and styles.

Divers from Anchor Research and Salvage (a Global Marine Exploration, Inc. company) working with the Punta Cana Foundation painstakingly excavated the wreck site under contract with the Underwater Cultural Heritage division of the Dominican Minister of Culture.

Anchor Research and Salvage has recently completed surveying operations on their southwestern coastal lease area off the Dominican Republic, revealing numerous previously undiscovered shipwrecks. Noted shipwreck archaeologist and author Sir Robert F. Marx estimates that there is several billion dollars of submerged treasures in the southern coastal area alone, and ten times that amount waiting in Global Marine Exploration's future target areas. Investigation and recovery operations in the Dominican Republic continue.

CEO Robert Pritchett said, "Sample artifacts from these newly discovered wreck sites indicate that we may have found an entire fleet of early Galleons that wrecked on their way back to Spain carrying the riches of the new world." Pritchett also mentions that negotiations are well underway for GME and its companies to provide artifact rescue and excavation services in other countries as well. "GME's unique business model opens up a new age for cost-effective and archaeologically sensitive shipwreck exploration. Other countries are seeing how well we document and record the archaeological evidence in the Dominican Republic, and we are in talks with other nations in the Caribbean and beyond," said Pritchett.

Courtesy; e Turbo News

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Treasure-hunting Sanford family strikes gold Email

Tuesday, 03 September 2013 10:57

By Desiree Stennett, Orlando Sentinel

Most treasure hunters go a lifetime and never take home a single piece of silver. But one Sanford family is now among the divers who struck gold — and a lot of it.

The treasure-hunting Schmitt family uncovered this weekend what could be $300,000 worth of gold chains and coins off the coast of Fort Pierce.

"This is like the end of a dream," said Rick Schmitt, who owns Booty Salvage.

The discovery came about 150 yards offshore and only 15 feet down. Schmitt's family — along with diver and friend, Dale Zeak — said they found 64 feet of thin gold chain that weighed in at more than three pounds, five gold coins and a gold ring.

Brent Brisben, co-founder of 1715 Fleet – Queens Jewels LLC, the company that owns the rights to dive on the wreckage site, came up with what he called a conservative estimated value of the haul.

"To be the first person to touch an artifact in 300 years, is indescribable," Brisben said Monday. "They were there 150 years before the Civil War. It's truly remarkable to be able to bring that back."

Read more: Treasure-hunting Sanford family strikes gold

Entering the Legend of Ciudad Blanca Email

Wreckdiver's Blog
Sunday, 01 September 2013 17:36


By Tommy Vawter

My interest in the Legend of Ciudad Blanca, or "The White City" began several years ago as we made plans to launch an expedition to the Central American county of Honduras, and last year we spent 3 months exploring Honduras and the many legends of Pirate treasure on the Island of Roatan and also the legendary city said to be located in the Mosquitia.

The Rio Platano Biosphere was declared World Heritage by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), which is located in the departments of Olancho, Gracias a Dios and Colón , with an area of ​​815 000 hectares, which borders the Bosawás, in Nicaragua.

Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés reported hearing legends of a region with towns and villages of extreme wealth in Honduras, but never located them. By the 1930s, there were rumors of a place in Honduras called the "City of the Monkey God" and in 1940 adventurer Theodore Morde claimed to have found it. However, he never provided a precise location for the site, one that later sources equated with Ciudad Blanca. Morde died before returning to the region to undertake further exploration.

Read more: Entering the Legend of Ciudad Blanca

Archaeologists use drones to protect and explore ancient ruins Email

Wednesday, 28 August 2013 10:35


Peruvian archaeologist Luis Jaime Castillo flies a drone over Cerro Chepén, one of thousands of ancient ruins across Peru. Photograph: Mariana Bazo/Reuters


In Peru, home to the spectacular Inca city of Machu Picchu and thousands of ancient ruins, archaeologists are turning to drones to speed up sluggish survey work and protect sites from squatters, builders and miners.

Remote-controlled aircraft were developed for military purposes and the US is increasingly using them to attack alleged terrorists, but the technology's falling price means it is increasingly used for civilian and commercial projects around the world.

Small drones have been helping a growing number of researchers produce three-dimensional models of Peruvian sites instead of the usual flat maps – and in days and weeks instead of months and years.

Speed is important to archaeologists here. Peru's economy has grown at an average of 6.5% a year over the past decade, and development pressures have surpassed looting as the main threat to the country's cultural treasures, according to the government.

Researchers are still picking up the pieces after a pyramid near Lima, believed to have been built 5,000 years ago by a fire-revering coastal society, was razed in July by construction firms. The same month, residents of a town near the pre-Incan ruins of Yanamarca reported that miners digging for quartz were damaging the three-story stone structures.

And squatters and farmers repeatedly try to seize land near important sites such as Chan Chan on the northern coast, thought to be the biggest adobe city in the world.

Archaeologists say drones can help set boundaries to protect sites, monitor threats and create a digital repository of ruins that can help build awareness and aid in the reconstruction of any damage.

Read more: Archaeologists use drones to protect and explore ancient ruins

Why Shipwrecks in Antarctica Are Well-Preserved Email

Monday, 19 August 2013 14:50


The Endurance and its crew became stuck among the ice floes of the Weddell Sea in the Southern Ocean in 1914. (Library of Congress)



If the wreck of the Endurance, the ship abandoned nearly 100 years ago by Ernest Shackleton and his crew in one of history's greatest sagas of polar exploration, were to be found today beneath the icy waters of Antarctica, it might be in surprisingly pristine condition. The ship is one of several wooden vessels presumed to be lying untouched on the Southern Ocean's floor.

"Untouched" and "wooden" are words rarely used to describe the same shipwreck -- sea worms and other creatures usually bore into the wood with such vigor that by the time archaeologists discover the remnants, the ship's skeleton has often completely disintegrated. But now, researchers from the Royal Society in London have discovered that there are virtually no wood-threatening organisms in Antarctic waters.

Read more: Why Shipwrecks in Antarctica Are Well-Preserved

Vietnamese fishermen find another old shipwreck near central coast Email

Sunday, 18 August 2013 15:06

Fishermen in the central province of Quang Ngai have found another old sunken boat near the shore, the third old shipwreck spotted in the waters recently and only 100 meters from the second one found last September.

Though it was near midnight on Thursday, around 30 fishing boats had rushed over for a treasure hunt upon hearing of the discovery, which happened around 100 meters off Chau Thuan Bien Village of Binh Son District, and around 1.5 meters under water.

They were jostling around above the boat’s location, around 100 meters to the west of one that was salvaged last July, when more than 4,000 intact antiques were recovered and some were believed to come from the 13th century.

Boats also dredged the sea bed around the area in hopes it would stir up some antiques.

Many people used axes and crowbars to take the antiques quickly, only to break many pottery plates and bowls.

Nguyen Van Thinh, a more gentle hunter, said: “There are many antiques in the boat, but people fought so much for them, smashing them… What a waste!”

Read more: Vietnamese fishermen find another old shipwreck near central coast