Marine Archaeology

Into the Depths podcasts persented by National Geographic
"Into the Depths" podcasts, persented by National Geographic, features National Geographic Explorer Tara Roberts as she takes us on a personal journey with a group of Black divers seeking and documenting slave shipwrecks all over the world. Learn more at: NatGeo.com/IntotheDepths.

NatGeo presents gripping podcasts on slave ship wrecks and divers documenting them

In the new six-part podcast, Into the Depths, Roberts tells of her time with a group of Black divers whose mission is to locate and help document the wrecks.

Museum of Wrecks opens in Stockholm

Vrak – Museum of Wrecks is a new museum about the Baltic Sea’s unique wrecks and cultural heritage, and a sister museum to the Vasa Museum in Stockholm. Nowhere else in the world are there as many well-preserved shipwrecks as in the Baltic Sea.

Vrak brings their stories to the surface while leaving the wrecks themselves and their objects on the seafloor where they are best preserved. The new museum serves as a hub for wrecks, new discoveries and research throughout the Baltic Sea region. 

Exhibition at Vrak - Museum of Wrecks in Stockholm
In the exhibition "Resande man", visitors walk around on a carpet with a reproduction of the wreck in 1:1 scale. Photo by Anneli Karlsson / Vrak – Museum of Wrecks/SMTM

 

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Russian 16th Century Discovery: Battle of Sudbischen

Artifacts from the 16th century Battle of Sudbischen. Photo by Stanislav Trofimov
Artifacts from the Russian 16th century Battle of Sudbischen found in the Gogol River by divers from Oryol dive club DIVO. Photo by Stanislav Trofimov

In the spring of 2021, Oryol divers discovered the site where the Battle of Sudbischen took place in 1555. This battle between the Russian army and the Crimean horde was a fateful event, in name and in nature, in the history of Russia during the era of Ivan the Terrible.

Diver holding Longquan ware. Photo credit: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.
Diver holding Longquan ware. Photo credit: ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute.

Salvage operation leads to large haul of blue-and-white porcelain

In 2015, commercial and salvage diver Ahmad Qamarulhazman was clearing debris underwater near Pedra Branca island, 24 nautical miles east of Singapore, after two bulk loader cranes that were in danger of toppling were blown up.

On his final dive of the operation, he spotted something wedged between rocks 8m deep. His trained eye told him that it was not something natural, but it was tough to see what it was as it was encrusted with algae, molluscs and organisms. 

Adventure & Archaeology

Underwater archaeologist working on a site of amphorae on the shipwreck of the Mazotos, in Cyprus
Underwater archaeologist working on a site of amphorae on the shipwreck of the Mazotos, in Cyprus

On opposite sides of the planet from each another, two historic shipwrecks sit in a constant state of change. Both bear historical witness to the story of their day, yet they are very different: One is a Mediterranean cargo vessel from over 2,300 years ago, the other a Norwegian tanker that sank off the coast of New Jersey in 1964.

The stuff of dreams! Financially significant artifacts recovered from shipwrecks off the coast of Florida

Returning cultural heritage to its rightful owner

Earlier that summer, the government of Spain successfully argued that, under the terms of international Sovereign Immunity, it never abandoned or otherwise relinquished its ownership of the Nuestra Senora de las Mercedes, which sunk during a sea battle with the British Navy in 1804. At the time of its loss, the Mercedes was sailing back to Spain from South America.

Maritime Archaeology Program at University of Southern Denmark

Divers build a frame, which they will later bring to the surface with the help of a lift bag. Photo courtesy of the Maritime Archaeology Program at the University of Southern Denmark.

In 2006, a postgraduate program in maritime archaeology was established at the University of Southern Denmark. Based in Esbjerg, on the west coast of the Jutland Peninsula in southwestern Denmark, it is a one-of-a-kind university program in this centuries-old seafaring nation. The program is designed for students who want to pursue a professional career in maritime archaeology and heritage management.

Shipwreck CSI

Vasa on display in Stockholm

All artifacts and other features, such as a ship’s timbers, are measured, drawn in detail, and photographed. Archaeological excavation underwater is usually done by hand with the aid of a hand-held dredge, commonly called an “air-lift.” Sediment is often screened so that not even the smallest artifact is lost.

Who Owns a Shipwreck?

Wreck of the African's Company Steamship Soudan in Funchal Bay, Madeira, ILN 1875

New technology now allows for the exploration of deep-water wrecks previously not accessible. But, who really owns a shipwreck?

Most countries, especially coastal states, have their own legislation that regulates the exploration and exploitation of shipwrecks as a cultural or economic resource.