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Ten most surprising finds recovered from sunken ships

The ocean loves to "collect" ships. For centuries, storms and reefs gathered at the bottom of a huge collection, as well as considerable contribution to its replenishment made the war. With a combination of a number of factors, these sunken ships and their cargo could be stored under water for centuries. Therefore, sometimes the finds are very intriguing, the newspaper writes. Culturology.

Photo: Shutterstock

1. "Eira"

Benjamin Lee Smith was one of the most prominent explorers of the Arctic. The Englishman climbed into places that no one had ever seen before, and many of them were subsequently named after him. In 1881, Smith's ship Eira sank near the archipelago that is today known as Franz Josef Land. Having managed to reach the coast, the explorer named the land he discovered in honor of his famous relative Florence Nightingale. For the next six months, the surviving crew members lived in several makeshift dwellings at Cape Flora. They were eventually rescued, and Smith continued his career earning prestigious awards and respect from the scientific community.

However, despite all the honors and achievements, Smith was almost completely forgotten several decades after his death. To correct this injustice, researchers for many years tried to find his sunken steam yacht. In 2017, the Russian crew examined the bottom of the sea near Cape Flora. During scanning, an object the size of an Air was discovered, and the footage made it possible to conclude that these are really fragments of a yacht.

2. Champagne from the bottom of the sea

In 2010, divers explored the seabed off the islands of the Finnish Åland archipelago. They found the remains of a ship, in the hold of which 168 bottles of 170-year-old champagne were preserved. The divers decided to celebrate the find and uncorked several bottles - the wine turned out to be quite suitable for drinking. After that, the find was sent to the laboratory for research. Surprisingly, the chemical composition of the wine turned out to be similar to modern champagne, but with one significant difference. The wine of the XNUMXth century was a confirmation that the people of that era were literally obsessed with sugar.

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Modern brands contain only 6 grams of sugar per liter, while bottles raised from the seabed contained a whopping 150 grams per liter. The composition also contained more table salt, copper and iron. Cork impressions indicate that the wine was made by French champagne producers Heidsieck, Juglar and Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin. To remain in perfect condition for 170 years after the sinking of the ship, the blame was helped by the fact that almost pitch darkness reigned at a depth of 50 meters, and the temperature was constantly low. The tasters described its taste as "smoky, spicy, with floral and fruity notes."

3. The motley crew of Mary Rose

For many years, historians believed that only "white" people lived in Tudor England. Nevertheless, when the wreckage of the Mary Rose was discovered, the warship became a strong argument for the theory of the multicultural Tudor era. He was the flagship of King Henry VIII's squadron, which sank in 1545 during the Battle of the Solent Channel. The shipwreck site was discovered in 1982 and 30 artifacts and bones were brought to the surface. After research, eight mysterious skeletons attracted attention, suggesting that the crew of the warship and, possibly, all of Tudor England was rather "motley".

DNA tests and artifacts proved that at least four people were not white English. One of them was a Spaniard who worked as a ship's carpenter. The second turned out to be an Italian, whose remains were found along with valuable things, including a statuette made in a Venetian workshop. The third was of African descent (northern Sahara), but researchers are pretty sure he was born in England. The fourth person was a Moor from the coast of North Africa. He was not a casual passenger. Moor was a royal archer and probably served in the King's Spears, the personal bodyguard unit of Henry VIII.

4. Missing Thumbnail

When Howard Carter discovered Tut's tomb in 1922, the treasures found inside shook the world. Among the artifacts were boat models intended for use by Tutankhamun (1341 BC - 1323 BC) in the afterlife. When Carter removed them from the tomb, the models were taken to the Luxor Museum in Egypt. By 1973, one miniature ship was officially missing and could not be found for almost half a century. When in 2019, one of the museum directors, Mohamed Atwa, was preparing for an exhibition, he found a box in one of the pantries. Inside it, wrapped in layers of newspapers, rested pieces of a model boat. Atwa immediately recognized the wooden parts. The rigging set, mast and gold-plated bow of the boat were identical to another tiny ship from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The newspapers were printed in 1933, that is, it was probably then that the miniature ship disappeared without a trace (40 years before it was noticed). Most likely, someone just forgot to write down that he repacked the artifact and shifted the box.

5. The moving ghost fleet

In 2017, a group of fifth graders visited Mallows Bay, Maryland, to inspect 200 shipwrecks that had accumulated here after the Revolutionary War, Civil War and both World Wars. Many of these vessels were sunk on purpose, and today they are essentially an artificial ecosystem for several marine species. Children aged 10-11 wanted to learn more about the so-called ghost fleet. They studied aerial photographs of the shipwreck sites, specifically looking at maps drawn decades apart.

The maps showed that the flooded "fleet" has partially moved over the years, and some ships "traveled" along the bottom for as much as 32 kilometers. Curious youth also found a reason. Over time (sometimes it took centuries), sunken ships moved under the influence of floods and storms.

6. The oldest bell and astrolabe

In the history of sea travel, the name Vasco da Gama is well known. A lesser known fact is that the Portuguese explorer's uncle was a pirate. Vicente Sodre was the captain of the Esmeralda, an armed ship designed to defend Portugal's commercial interests. In 1502, Sodre went with a naval armada to India, but then he went his own way, deciding to plunder and destroy Arab ships. The following year, during a storm, the Esmeralda sank near Oman. The ship was found only in 1998, but work on raising it to the surface began only in 2013.

During the dives, they managed to raise a broken ship's bell and something resembling an astrolabe - an extremely rare navigation device. The analysis also established the date of manufacture of the device - approximately 1496th. It turned out that this is not only rare, but also the oldest of about 100 astrolabes that have survived to this day. The bell was also the earliest such artifact found, dating back to 1498.

7. Fire-damaged Titanic

It turns out that a fire raged on the Titanic before the ship collided with an iceberg. When the liner left Belfast, Northern Ireland, and sailed to Southampton, England, coal bunker 6 was already smoldering. The ship's crew was aware of this problem and spent three days trying to curb the fire. When the ship sank, everyone forgot about the fire, but new evidence shows that criminal negligence may have contributed to the ship's disaster. In 2017, new photographs of the Titanic were discovered showing dark areas on the hull, in particular near bunker 6, where the iceberg caused the most damage. If the researchers' calculations are correct (and they consulted with metallurgical experts), the fire heated the hull to a hellish temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius, which reduced the metal's strength by up to 75 percent. This only exacerbated the damage from the collision.

8. The Secret of Columbus

The ships Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria became famous after the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Despite decades of searching, no one has found a single wreckage of these ships. Columbus wrote that "Santa Maria" sat on a reef near Cap Haitien, Haiti, in 1492. The crew partially dismantled the hull of the ship in order to build a fortified village called La Navidad (they also could not find it). In principle, it’s not surprising that the wreckage of “Santa Maria” could not be found, because for more than five hundred years the crib could completely destroy the ship’s tree, and tropical storms are frequent in this area, which for 500 years left little from the ship, who sank in shallow water.

Modern technologies such as sonar are also unable to detect ships buried under centuries-old sediment layers. Do not forget that at that time there was very little metal in the ships, which makes useless the most important tool for finding ships - a magnetometer. There is also no record of what happened to Niña and Pinta after their return to Europe. Interestingly, Columbus sailed to the New World three more times with new fleets, and none of these ships was found either.

9. Mysterious baris

The famous Greek historian Herodotus once described a ship. During a trip to Egypt in 450 BC. he oversaw the construction of an unusual barge, which the locals called baris. She had a single rudder through a hole in the keel, an acacia mast and a papyrus sail. Herodotus also described 100-centimeter boards stacked like bricks and seams sealed from the inside with papyrus. Archaeologists have never seen such a vessel. In 2000, an epic find was made - the sunken city of Tonis-Heraklion off the Egyptian coast. Among the underwater ruins were found the wreckage of more than 70 ancient ships, and at number 17 figured just the elusive baris of Herodotus.

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10. Missing remnants of the shipwrecks of World War II

During World War II, in the Java Sea near Indonesia, the Allied fleet and the Imperial Japanese fleet clashed in battle. During the battle, several ships from Great Britain and the Netherlands were sunk, as well as a submarine from the United States. In 2016, the seabed was scanned using sonar. To the surprise of everyone, the Dutch cruisers De Reuters and Java, the British cruiser Exeter and the destroyer Encounter, and the American submarine Perch have completely disappeared. There were no significant parts of the destroyers Elektra and Cortenar. This region is a real Klondike for plunderers of metal who disguise themselves as fishermen and raise the remains of shipwrecks to the surface. This caused a storm of anger as the ships that sank in 1942 became graves for hundreds of sailors.

The scandal only intensified when rescue companies and even representatives of the Indonesian navy said the ships were too deep and very massive. To rise to the surface required special equipment, many people and months of work, which makes stealthy theft impossible.

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