Posts Tagged With: ship

Crusader Shipwreck Discovered off Israel’s Coast, gold coins and more…


Archaeologists have found the wreck of a ship belonging to the Crusaders, dating back to their expulsion from Acre in the thirteenth century CE, off the coast of northern Israel.

The Crusader stronghold was destroyed in 1291 CE when the Mamluk Sultanate captured it, driving the Christian armies from the region. Golden coins dating to the era were found alongside the wreck, making it easy to pinpoint when the ship sank in the waters outside Acre, according to an article appearing in Haaretz.

Taking Acre was a major victory for the Mamluks, as Christian European forces had long used the site as a landing point for countless knights and soldiers. When Jerusalem fell out of Crusader hands after being recaptured by Saladin in 1187, Acre became the new Crusader capital in the Holy Land.

Marine archaeologists from Haifa University Prof. Michal Artzy and Dr. Ehud Galili spearheaded the investigation of the Crusader shipwreck. The ship itself suffered damage while the modern harbor of Acre was being dredged during its construction; the surviving wreckage includes some ballast-covered wooden planks, the ship’s keep, and a few sections of its hull.

Carbon dating has revealed the wood used to construct the hull dates to between 1062 CE and 1250 CE, firmly within the window for Crusader activity in the region. In addition to the associated golden coins found near the wreckage, marine archaeologists also discovered imported ceramic bowls and jugs from southern Italy, Syria, and Cyprus; corroded pieces of iron, mostly nails and anchors, were additional finds.

The biggest find, however, is certainly thought to be the gold coins found with the wreck. A total of 30 florins were found, according to the Israel Antiquities Authority’s coin expert Robert Kool; minted in the Italian republic of Florence – where the coins get their name – the florins were minted from 1252.

Speculation as to how the ship – and the florins – ended up on the bottom of Acre’s harbor is closely tied to the Siege of Acre, as historical eyewitness accounts from the event reported nobles and merchants fleeing from the besieged fortress by boat, often after bribing the owners of these boats with valuables. Many never made it out of the harbor, thought to have drowned there with their riches as the Christian defenders sought futilely to buy them some time to escape.

The Crusader fortress fell on May 18th, 1291, after more than 100 years of Frankish rule. The final defenders, a contingent of Knights Templar, refused to abandon their holdfast. As a result, when Mamluk sappers undermined the walls of the Templar fortress, the entire edifice collapsed, killing the remaining defenders – and around a hundred of the Sultan’s own soldiers as well.

The fall of Acre was the last gasp of the Christian crusades during the medieval era. Once the stronghold was taken by the Mamluks and summarily destroyed, the Catholic Church and the European nobles that supported it abandoned their quest to “liberate” the Holy Land.

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Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, artifacts, gold, gold coins, Legends, Lost Treasure, Middle East, Muslims, sunken ships, treasure, treasure diver, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blackbeard’s Ship Confirmed off North Carolina…..


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By Willie Drye in Plymouth, North Carolina, for National Geographic News
PUBLISHED AUGUST 29, 2011

After 15 years of uncertainty, a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina has been confirmed as that of the infamous 18th-century pirate Blackbeard, state officials say.

The Queen Anne’s Revenge grounded on a sandbar near Beaufort (see map) in 1718, nine years after the town had been established. Blackbeard and his crew abandoned the ship and survived.

Until recently, the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources emphasized that the wreck, discovered in 1995, was “thought to be” the Queen Anne’s Revenge.

Now, after a comprehensive review of the evidence, those same officials are sure it’s the ship sailed by one of history’s fiercest and most colorful pirates.

“There was not one aha moment,” said Claire Aubel, public relations coordinator for the North Carolina Maritime Museums. “There was a collection of moments and a deduction based on the evidence.”

There were two main reasons for the team’s certainty, Aubel said: the sheer size of the wreck and the many weapons that were found in the rubble.

No other ship as big as the Queen Anne’s Revenge was known to have been in the area at the time, and a pirate ship would have been well armed, she said.

Shipwreck Loot Points to Blackbeard

Blackbeard achieved his infamous immortality in only a few years, operating in the Caribbean Sea and off the coast of colonial America before being killed in a battle with British ships in North Carolina’s Pamlico Sound in 1718. (Also see “Grim Life Cursed Real Pirates of Caribbean.”)

Some historians have speculated that he deliberately ran the Queen Anne’s Revenge aground so that he could keep the most valuable plunder for himself.

Such loot has helped archaeologists link the wreck to Blackbeard since excavations started in 1997. Among the major recovered artifacts are:

—Apothecary weights stamped with tiny fleurs-de-lis, royal symbols of 18th-century France. Queen Anne’s Revenge was actually a former French ship, Le Concorde, captured by Blackbeard in 1717. He forced Le Concorde’s surgeon to join the pirate crew, and a surgeon at that time likely would have had apothecary weights.

—A small amount of gold found among lead shot. Archaeologists think a French crewman might have hidden the gold in a barrel of shot to conceal it from Blackbeard’s pirates.

ID of Blackbeard’s Ship Never Really in Doubt

The disclaimer about the wreck’s identity was more an acknowledgement of the strict code of scientific scrutiny than the result of any serious doubts about the ship’s identity, said Erik Goldstein, curator of arts and numismatics—the study of coins and tokens—for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation in Virginia. Archaeologists working on the wreck were always sure of its identity.

State officials “were just being safe,” Goldstein said. “At the beginning phase of an excavation, unless you find something like a ship’s bell with the name engraved on it, it takes a little while to put the pieces together and gather documentary evidence. It was good, responsible behavior on the part of those folks.”

There were two reasons for dropping the official doubt about the identity of the shipwreck, added David Moore, curator of nautical archaeology at the North Carolina Maritime Museum in Beaufort.

First, the museum recently opened “Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge,” a greatly expanded exhibit of artifacts from the shipwreck. Had the confirmation of the ship’s identity not been made, curators would have had to title the exhibition something like “Artifacts From the Purported Queen Anne’s Revenge,” Moore said.

Also, removing the official caveat could help the museum secure private funding to continue excavating the wreck, Moore said. Although the state legislature provides some funding, he said, tight budgets are cutting into that money.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Archaeology, emeralds, gold | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sunken Ship Full of Treasure Lies Off Uruguayan Coast….


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In 1763, a British ship named Lord Clive was sailing off the coast of what’s now Uruguay. The ship was allegedly stocked with massive amounts of rum, as well as treasure chests full of gold and silver coins. During a raid, Spanish troops attacked the city of Colonia del Sacramento with cannon fire. The Lord Clive was struck in the bombardment, and went down. And so did all the ship’s treasure.
In 2004, the Lord Clive was located underneath some rocks at the bottom of the River Plate. Despite knowing where it was, the Uruguayan government has never permitted anyone to recover the ship — until now. Rubén Collado is an Argentinian treasure hunter who is attempting to salvage the shipwreck. With permission from the Uruguayan government, Collado is looking for investors to fund the mission. Recovering the ship will be expensive, but tales of the legendary treasure are an alluring pitch.
“Many people want to stake money, since they enjoy this kind of thing. It’s like gambling; you put in $1,000 and you could make $5,000 or $1 million, depending on what shows up,” Collado explained to The Guardian.
Another part of the reason people are so excited about the Lord Clive is the ship itself. The Royal Navy built the ship, and it was an impressive vessel, boasting six decks and 64 guns. The ship also belonged to what was once the world’s richest company, the East India Company.
“You can’t really make a valuation,” Collado said. “The cannons should be $64 million altogether. The coins are worth $5,000 to $6,000 each, and there are 100,000 of them, so just do the math. But the most important thing about that ship is her history. She’s probably the best you can find in that condition thanks to the fresh water in that part of the River Plate.”
With the ship’s rich history, the legends of treasure chests full of gold and silver, and huge amounts of 250-year-old rum, it’s no wonder Collado is having no trouble finding investors

Categories: Ancient Treasure, emeralds, gold, gold chains, gold coins, jewels | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wreck of Civil War Ship Commandeered by Slaves Rediscovered….


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The wreck of a ship once commandeered by slaves and sailed to freedom during the Civil War has very likely been found.

The shipwrecked Planter almost certainly rests beneath 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) of sand and water off Cape Romain between Charleston and Georgetown, South Carolina, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced this week. The ship went down in 1876, 14 years after its enslaved captain and crew ran it out of Charleston Harbor and turned it over to the U.S. Navy.

The story of the Planter is one of heroism. The ship was completed in 1860. The next year, an enslaved young man named Robert Smalls came aboard as a deck hand. Smalls had more freedom than most slaves, and was allowed to keep some of his pay and move around the Charleston waterfront with some autonomy. (Smalls may have been his owner’s son, according to his descendants. Smalls’ mother was a slave in the home of a man named John K. McKee, and the family suspects that McKee’s son Henry, who inherited the pair of slaves in 1848, fathered Smalls.

Audacious plan

Smalls worked his way up to the position of wheelsman — the person who steers the ship. During the Civil War, the Planter was rented to the Confederates and used as a supply, transport and dispatch ship, running cannons, soldiers and other wartime necessities along the coast. Most of the crew were enslaved African-Americans.

The idea of commandeering the ship started as a joke, Smalls would later tell Harper’s Weekly magazine. But soon it turned quite serious: The nine African-American men of the crew met in secret at Smalls’ house and planned their escape. They put away provisions in the hold and waited for their chance.

It came on May 12, 1862. The ship had just returned to Charleston Harbor after picking up some cannons from nearby Cole Island. The plan was to deliver the weaponry to Fort Ripley the next day. That evening, however, the white men in the crew went ashore for a soiree. Smalls and his crew jumped at the opportunity, first steaming to pick up their relatives in the North Atlantic wharf and then sailing right out of the harbor. Smalls blew the ship whistle at the Confederate checkpoints, convincing those guarding the harbor that the ship was simply getting an early start on the day’s deliveries.

“Once out of range of the rebel guns the white flag was raised, and the Planter steamed directly for the blockading [Union] steamer Augusta,” Harper’s explained in June 1862.

Heroism and loss

Smalls delivered the Planter and the 16 escaped slaves on board to the U.S. Navy. He then piloted the ship in action against the Confederacy, and was later transferred to pilot other ships in a new post in the U.S. Army. He’d have another brush with heroism in 1863, again on the Planter. The ship was moving supplies along Folly Island creek near Charleston when it came under heavy shelling from Confederate guns. The captain of the ship ordered that the ship be beached and abandoned his station. Smalls instead piloted the Planter to safety. As a result, the ship’s captain was dismissed, and Smalls promoted. He was the first African-American to become a ship captain in the U.S. military.

After the war, the Army sold the ship to a private company, which turned right around and sold it to its original owner in South Carolina, John Ferguson. The ship soon went back to its pre-war duties delivering supplies up and down the South Carolina coast. Smalls went on to represent South Carolina in the U.S. House of Representatives.

In 1876, the Planter was attempting to tow a ship that had run aground at Cape Romain up the coast from Charleston. In the process, the Planter hit a shoal and sprung a leak. The captain beached the ship in hopes of repairing the hull, but a storm blew in and battered her beyond repair. The crew salvaged everything they could, including pistons, life boats, engines, cabin doors and even blankets and mattresses.

Rediscovery

Shifting sands have long covered the remains of the Planter, and the site of the wreck was lost. NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Progam set out to find the wreck, reviewing original accounts of the accident and historic charts of the shoreline as it was in 1876. Once a likely location was pinpointed, NOAA researchers used a magnetometer towed beneath the water in search of large quantities of iron.

The found one such cluster 9 feet (3 m) below the ocean bottom, near where the shore would have been when the Planter wrecked. The area is environmentally sensitive (Cape Romain, up the coast from Charleston, is home to a national wildlife refuge), so attempts to uncover the wreck will need to be taken with care, NOAA reported. What’s more, the Planter is likely fragmented from the relentless beating of the waves. The state of South Carolina will decide whether to excavate the ship’s remains or to simply mark the spot in remembrance of this storied vessel.

Categories: Civil War | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Old Photo…1900…Charlevoix, Michigan. “Harbor entrance and light house”


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2 USS Monitor sailors to be interred at Arlington……


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The remains of two unknown Union sailors recovered from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery on March 8, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Tuesday.
“These may very well be the last Navy personnel from the Civil War to be buried at Arlington,” Mabus said in a statement. “It’s important we honor these brave men and all they represent as we reflect upon the significant role Monitor and her crew had in setting the course of our modern Navy.”
The two skeletons and the tattered remains of their uniforms were discovered in the rusted hulk of the Union Civil War ironclad in 2002 when its 150-ton turret was raised from the ocean floor off Cape Hatteras, N.C. Conservators of the wreck had a forensic reconstruction done on the two men’s faces in the longshot bid that someone could identify the sailors who went down with the Monitor 150 years ago.
As a result, some families whose ancestors had served on the Monitor came forward, but DNA testing did not produce a match, said David Alberg, superintendent of the Monitor sanctuary. While efforts to identify to the two continue, he said, “Let’s lay the men to rest.”
Alberg has pushed for the Arlington honors. So have the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Maritime Heritage Program and descendants of the surviving Monitor crewmembers.
“It’s their final voyage,” Alberg said. “They sailed out in 1862 and never made it home and now they’re finally being laid to rest 150 years later.”
The Brooklyn-made Monitor made nautical history, fighting in the first battle between two ironclads in the Battle of Hampton Roads on March 9, 1862. The Monitor’s confrontation with the CSS Virginia ended in a draw. The Virginia, built on the carcass of the U.S. Navy frigate USS Merrimack, was the Confederate answer to the Union’s ironclad ships.
The Monitor sank about nine months later in rough seas southeast of Cape Hatteras while it was under tow by the USS Rhode Island. Sixteen of the Monitor’s crew members died. The crew of the Rhode Island was able to rescue about 50 survivors.

Categories: Civil War | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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