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Race Against Time to Raise Gun Carriage from the London Wreck

An incredibly rare and extremely well-preserved 350 year old wooden gun carriage was raised from the seabed yesterday to be brought ashore today by Historic England. It comes from one of England’s most important 17th century shipwrecks - the London – which lies in two parts off Southend Pier in Essex.

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Researchers explored the wreck of the US Navy's USS Macon, a lighter than air ship which crashed in the Pacific off of California 80 years ago.

http://news.usni.org/2015/08/19/exploring-the-wreck-of-uss-macon-the-navys-last-flying-aircraft-carrier

The researchers are learning how materials like aluminum hold up in salt water and how to preserve them.

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Winston Churchill once quipped that the British Royal Navy was built on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. It looks like he should have added salted cod to that equation.

 

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cod-bones-from-mary-rose-reveal-globalised-fish-trade-in-tudor-england

 

Scientists have analyzed cod fish bones from the provisions on the infamous Mary Rose which sunk in 1545 and determined that a wide fishing network spanned the Atlantic even at this early date in order to supply a growing demand for fish in urban Tudor England and its nascent Royal Navy.

 

The full study is here.

 

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/9/150199

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Winston Churchill once quipped that the British Royal Navy was built on Rum, Sodomy and the Lash. It looks like he should have added salted cod to that equation.

 

https://www.cam.ac.uk/research/news/cod-bones-from-mary-rose-reveal-globalised-fish-trade-in-tudor-england

 

Scientists have analyzed cod fish bones from the provisions on the infamous Mary Rose which sunk in 1545 and determined that a wide fishing network spanned the Atlantic even at this early date in order to supply a growing demand for fish in urban Tudor England and its nascent Royal Navy.

 

The full study is here.

 

http://rsos.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/2/9/150199

Interesting that the Newfoundland Fishery for cod was part of the military supply chain that early...

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That was my thought. I might be misreading it but it seems that overfishing and industrial/farming techniques (presumably dams and water wheels blocking off migratory salmon runs) were already forcing British fishermen further a sea in search of their catch. Also I'm interested in the climate change aspect.

In archeology it seems that the "junk" often has the most interesting story to tell.

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Sunken Confederate cannons recovered from a gunboat in South Carolina.

 

http://www.newswise.com/articles/uofsc-archaeologists-raise-trio-of-civil-war-cannons-from-scuttled-css-pee-dee

 

image_zpsy1bxov8h.jpg

 

They were tossed into the river to prevent their capture by General Sherman's invading army. Another win for the Union and a win for archaeology!

 

Thanks Sherman!

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Archaeologists began the first round of excavation on Sunday of a much-sought sunken warship that was confirmed late last month to be the Zhiyuan, a famous vessel of the Beiyang Fleet that sank on Sept 17, 1894 during the Sino-Japanese War.

 

The article is here.

 

The vessel is the sister ship to the Chih Yuen protected cruiser that Khand-e posted in the naval ship photos thread.

 

The vessel was built by Great Britain and sold to the Chin Dynasty. Both vessels were in the 1894 Battle of the Yalu River where the Zhiyuan was sunk trying to ram the Japanese flagship.

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The 65BC shipwreck which yielded the Antikythera mechanism is still the gift that keeps on giving.

 

http://www.whoi.edu/news-release/antikythera-shipwreck-excavation

 

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg22730404-200-divers-return-to-famous-antikythera-wreck-to-hunt-for-treasures/

 

It looks like they are still pulling artifacts out of the shipwreck, including game pieces, parts of a throne and interesting bits of the ship itself. One of the individuals involved hopes to find more ancient clockwork mechanisms which might still be buried in the wreck.

 

I mentioned elsewhere about the fact that we lived in the Golden Age of archaeology. In 1976, the wreck was partially recovered by famed underwater explorer Jacques Cousteau using giant suction hoses to salvage treasures which has now hindered the study of the wreck.

 

"There are two main challenges. Few archaeologists are qualified to dive to the site’s 55 metres, where the risk of the bends is severe. So to avoid injury, they descend with dive specialists including Smith, and only dive for 45 minutes at a time, taking 90 minutes to decompress.

Another problem is finding items hidden in the sand. Cousteau’s 1976 team used a huge suction pipe to hoover up the seabed, dumping sediment and precious artefacts onto the deck of their ship. But the priority now is to record and understand the site, not simply to salvage its treasure."

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The Colombian government claims to have found the treasure ship San Jose, a Spanish galleon which sank in 1708 with a billion dollars (presumably by today's value) worth of gold, silver and jewelry off of Cartagena in 1708. 

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-35014600

 

As always there will be lawsuits and disputes over the legal ownership because - as I recall - the San Jose has been the subject of years intrigue of underwater salvage teams claiming to have found it before. And as intimated by the article, this is probably a United Nations heritage site as well given the treasure involved. 

 

The San Jose was sunk during the War of Spanish Succession in a battle known as "Wager's Action". The rather unsatisfactory Wikipedia article of the battle is here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wager%27s_Action

 

However, as a master of Das Google, I prefer pompous 19th Century British literature on the subject.

 

 

 

1708 WAGER'S ACTION OFF CARTAGENA 375

 

Wager who had been made a Rear Admiral on November 19th 1707 but was not yet aware of his promotion had his broad pennant in the Expedition 70 Captain Henry Long and was accompanied by the Kingston 60 Captain Timothy Bridges 1 the Portland 50 Captain Edward Windsor and the Vulture fireship Commander Caesar Brooks.

 

The enemy's flotilla was made up of the San Josef 64 bearing a pennant at the main another 64 bearing a pennant at the fore a 44 bearing a pennant at the mizzen a 40 gun ship and eight craft of inferior force. These were in the line. In addition to them there were two French vessels one of 30 and one of 24 guns two sloops and a brigantine which took no share in the action and which made off ere it commenced.

 

The San Josef was in the centre of the line the other 64 gun ship brought up the rear and the 44 gun ship led the van The Commodore had reason to believe that the whole of the Spanish treasure was on board the three ships bearing pennants His information proved to be inaccurate but acting upon it he hailed the Kingston which was near him to attack the rearmost vessel and he sent a boat to the Portland ordering her to attack the vessel at the head of the line He himself purposed to attack the San Josef and seeing nothing for the Vulture to do he directed her to keep to windward

 

It was a fine evening and there was a light gale from the NNE The enemy to the southward had tacked and stood towards the N to weather the island of Baru Finding that the Kingston and Portland did not comply with his instructions but kept too far to windward Wager hoisted the signal for the line of battle and at about sunset got within gunshot of the San Josef and soon engaged her at close quarters After an hour and a half's action she blew up.

 

It was then very dark and from the Expedition but one other vessel of the enemy was visible Wager kept her in view and by 10 PM came up with and engaged her She turned out to be the 44 gun ship.

 

The Expedition's first broadside which was poured into her stern disabled her Wager who was to leeward then made aboard in order to get to windward of her and would no doubt have ultimately taken her singlehanded even if the Kingston and Portland which had thus far done little or nothing had not arrived upon the scene. At 2 am just as the moon was rising she struck and was taken possession of by Captain Long.

 

The Commodore remained on deck and towards dawn saw a large ship on his weather bow and three more sail on his weather quarter whereupon he ordered the Kingston and Portland to proceed in chase Captains Bridges and Windsor did as they were ordered but in the afternoon relinquished the attempt Wager then renewed his signal and the two ships resumed the pursuit On the 31st they returned reporting that they had followed the second 64 gun ship and had seen her enter Cartagena but that she had led them into such dangerous waters that they had been obliged to leave her after firing at her

 

The Commodore was still refitting his prize when Captains Bridges and Windsor rejoined him and having heard that a galleon had taken refuge behind Baru he at once sent the Kingston Portland and Vulture to take or burn her They encountered her as she was endeavouring to get to Cartagena As soon as she sighted them she went about ran herself ashore and was set on fire by her crew and the English did not succeed in saving anything out of her The squadron with the prize reached Port Boyal without further adventure on July 8th The loss occasioned to the Spaniards was very heavy Accounts as to the treasure in the San Josef differ Some place its total at as much as thirty millions of pieces of eight none at less than five millions. But unfortunately for the captors the 44 gun ship had no government treasure in her She was mainly laden with cacao and although thirteen chests of pieces of eight and fourteen pigs of silver were on board these seem to have been private property She was nevertheless a very valuable prize

 

The 64 gun ship which escaped was reported to be nearly as rich as the San Josef. Captains Bridges and Windsor were tried by court martial on board the Expedition at Port Royal on July 23rd for neglect of duty and were sentenced to be dismissed their ships Neither was ever again employed.

 

 

...

 

Watching a galleon full of gold and silver blow up and sink into a 1,000 feet of water was probably enough to put even the most unflappable British sea dog off his lunch.

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"The submarine, an I-400, has been missing since 1946. It was the largest (400 feet) and most innovative of its day,"

 

Which is why today, the word "innovative" is used today solely as a term of irony and contempt.

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One of the safety  / industrial engineering books I read at work had a bit about Texas Tower 4. They assembled the legs on shore and then floated the whole assembly out to the build site (instead of attaching the individual legs on site), which might have caused some problems (while being floated out there, one leg would have been suspended up in the air and subjected to stresses it wasn't designed for). the book (can't remember title) also claimed that there was confusion over whether the Air Force commander on the tower had authority to order an evac.

 

Speaking of ocean based platforms, might as will link "A Fire in the Night"

 

 

aka why LostCosmonaut will never work on an oil rig

 

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-scotland-22840445

 


"You wonder why people would jump out of a 30- or 40-storey block window when fire is at their back.

"Well, I know why now, because I jumped as well and I was very lucky to survive.

 


''It was a case of fry and die or jump and try,''

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I forgot to post this from last year but a Nat Geo article on 40 very well preserved shipwrecks found in the Black Sea dating from the 9th to 19th Century.

 

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/10/black-sea-shipwreck-discovery/

 

The New York Times with their contribution.

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/12/science/shipwrecks-black-sea-archaeology.html

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