Top 10 Underwater Discoveries of 2015
Treasures to be found at the depths of the oceans and seas captivate the mind and imagination. The play of light and dark under the waters also provides a beautiful backdrop to the ancient artifacts. Furthermore, underwater discoveries remind us that our world and cultures are constantly moving and changing. These are the Top Ten underwater discoveries that submerged us in wonder this year.
A wooden shipwreck believed to be one of King Henry V’s greatest ships was tentatively identified in the River Hamble in southern England in October. The 600-year-old warship, known as the Holigost (Holy Ghost) was commissioned by the king in his war against France.
It was spotted in an aerial photograph by British maritime historian, Dr Ian Friel. The faint U-shaped outline in the mud at the edge of the river has prompted an investigation using sonar, remote sensing, and drone equipment to create a computerized image of what lies beneath the mud. The location is just 50 meters (164 feet) from the wreck of Henry V’s flagship, The Grace Dieu, the largest ship in Europe at the time – it measures 66 meters (216.5 feet) long. However, archaeologists believe that the wreck of the Holy Ghost is likely to be better preserved than that of The Grace Dieu, and they are hoping that it could reveal a great deal about life aboard the ship, naval warfare, as well as 15th century shipbuilding.
An archaeological diving team in Finland found the wreck of the Hanneke Wrome , just south of the island of Jussarö in Finland. The ship sank with valuable cargo and some 200 passengers and crew on November 20, 1468. The shipwreck measures approximately 30 meters (98.4 feet) in length and consists of three relatively well-preserved sections of the frame made from oak planks. "There is a keel, mast and anchor, which is sticking out of the bottom of the upright,” said Koivusaari. “The anchor is fragile… It is exactly the kind of anchor used in the Hanseatic ships.”
Historic documents record the ship as carrying 10,000 gold coins, estimated to be worth around €50 million today. At the wreck, Koivusaari and his team found a barrel lid, roof tile pieces, and an unidentified lead object. He said that he is confident that the gold coins will also be retrieved in the future.
Artifacts from the Egyptian city of Thonis-Heracleion were displayed at an exhibition in Paris in September. The treasures included a fine sculpture of a pharaoh, a depiction of the god Osiris with golden eyes, ritual ceremonial barges, a black granite carving of a priest’s head, and a ceramic depicting Bes - a god who protected people against evil spirits.
The submerged ruins of Thonis-Heracleion and Canopus, disappeared in the 8th century after being struck by tidal waves caused by an earthquake. Liquefaction of the silt upon which the cities were built caused them to sink by around 12 feet (3.7 meters). Today, they are located beneath the surface in Aboukir Bay near Alexandria and their remains cover 40 square miles (110 square kilometers) of seabed. Within the submerged area there are probably two, or possibly three ancient cities, of which perhaps only 2% at most has been investigated so far.
Underwater archaeologists returned to the world-famous Antikythera shipwreck located off the island of Antikythera, Greece in the Aegean Sea, and discovered more than fifty new artifacts. Some of which include: the remains of a bone flute, a bronze armrest that may be part of a throne, a pawn from an ancient board game, luxury ceramics, and fine glassware.
This famous underwater archaeological site was thrown into the spotlight in 1900 when researchers discovered an incredible mechanical device, now known as the Antikythera mechanism. The discovery of this unique form of ancient technology, along with other treasures, including finely carved bronze and marble statues, glassware, jewelry, and coins, led researchers to wonder what else may lie within the shipwreck. Numerous divers have attempted to investigate the ancient shipwreck, but dangerous conditions caused by the extreme depth of the submerged vessel have hampered the investigation of the ancient site. This means that much of it still remains unexplored.
Siberian scientists made a discovery of a 2,500-year-old Saka settlement in up to 23 meters (75.5 feet) of water in Kyrgyzstan. Additionally, they may have happened upon evidence for the theory that an Armenian monastery was on this site in Medieval times -in the form of a piece of a large ceramic pot found in the lake with a stamp in Armenian and Syrian scripts. If it is true, and the Orthodox Church is right, the Armenian monastery’s presence would show that the remote Lake Issyk-Kul could also be the last resting place of evangelist St Matthew, one of the 12 disciples of Jesus.