Wrecks & Archaeology

3D model still of 16th century ship found at Dungeness quarry
3D model still of 16th century ship found at Dungeness quarry

Remains of a rare Elizabethan-era ship found in quarry

Workers at a quarry near Dungeness made the dramatic discovery of a rare Elizabethan-era shipwreck on the coast of Kent while dredging gravel for building materials out of a lake in April.

The location is now some 300 metres from the coast, but archaeologists believe that the site was once right on the coastline. The vessel could have been wrecked or abandoned on the former shoreline, and then gradually buried in sediment as time passed and the headland expanded. 

3D-model image of the Shonisaurus popularis fossil bed at Quarry 2 in Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada. Fossilised bones have been color-coded, with each color corresponding to a different skeleton.
3D-model image of the Shonisaurus popularis fossil bed at Quarry 2 in Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park, Nevada. Fossilised bones have been color-coded, with each color corresponding to a different skeleton.

Fossil bed in national forest in Nevada may have been breeding ground for ichthyosaurs

In the Berlin-Ichthyosaur State Park in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest in Nevada, there is a fossil bed in which many ichthyosaurs (Shonisaurus popularis) have been found petrified in stone.

Over the years, there has been speculation that they had perished in a mass stranding incident or due to a nearby algal bloom. While these were possible, there had not been strong evidence to support these theories.

The steamship SS Pacific went down in November of 1875 with the loss of at least 325 passengers.
The steamship SS Pacific went down in November of 1875 with the loss of at least 275 passengers and crew.

Steamship lost in 1875 off Washington coast located

The SS Pacific was on its way from Puget Sound and Victoria to San Francisco when it collided with a big sailing ship in the dark off Cape Flattery on November 4, 1875 and sank in less than an hour. The Pacific had an estimated 275 passengers and crew aboard of which only two survived, making the sinking the most deadly maritime disaster in Northwest history. 

Cannon wreck seen from starboard bow
Cannon wreck seen from starboard bow

Nearly intact ancient shipwrecks found in the Baltic

The discoveries in the Baltic Sea are unprecedented and have revealed shipwrecks hundreds of years old. Two of them are with great certainty cargo vessels from the Netherlands, while the third and largest is supposed to be a Scandinavian vessel.

All three shipwrecks stand like ghost ships almost unscathed in total darkness on the seabed at a depth of approximately 150 meters and beyond the reach of modern fishing vessels.

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In order to obtain the best footage, two Swedish photogrammetry experts Ingemar Lundgren and Fredrik Skorg from the company Ocean Discovery took part in the expedition. An underwater robot equipped with an advanced camera brought thousands of images to the surface and reproduces with great precision a virtual image of the wrecks as they actually appear.

The pictures are so detailed that you get the feeling of being able to walk around a ship that sank hundreds of years ago.

HMS Regent, long lost WW2 submarine, found in the Adriatic

The newly-found wreck lies off the coast near Villanova di Ostuni, some 19 miles from Monopoli.

First believed to be found by Italian divers in 1999, it was later determined in 2020 that the wreck thought to be Regent was in fact the Italian submarine Giovanni Bausan which had been sunk by the RAF in 1944.

Now, it seems another dive team has had better luck in identifying Regent. She rests off the coast near Villanova di Ostuni, some 19 miles from Monopoli, upside down in 70m of water. The apparent victim of a mine.

The V-1302 John Mahn started out as a German fishing trawler before being converted into a patrol boat during the war. It was sunk close to the Belgian coast in 1942 by the British Royal Air Force, as part of the Channel Dash operation.
The V-1302 John Mahn started out as a German fishing trawler before being converted into a patrol boat during the war. It was sunk close to the Belgian coast in 1942 by the British Royal Air Force, as part of the Channel Dash operation.

Abandoned WW2 wrecks leak toxic chemicals in the North Sea

The V-1302 John Mahn was a fishing trawler requisitioned by the German navy during the Second World War and sunk by UK bombers in 1942. It has rested at 30 metres below sea level in the Belgian North Sea ever since.

Together with the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, bio-engineer Josefien Van Landuyt examined samples of sediment in the area around the sunken John Mahn. In doing so, she aimed to discover whether old shipwrecks in the Belgian section of the North Sea continue to affect microbial marine life.

Äpplet, port side by lower gundeck
Äpplet, port side by lower gundeck

Vasa's sister ship discovered

Launched in 1629, Applet (Apple) was built by the same shipbuilder as the famed 69-metre Vasa, which was carrying 64 cannons when it went down in a strait off the island of Vaxholm, just outside the capital, Stockholm. Vasa was meant to serve as a symbol of Sweden’s military might at the time but capsized after sailing just over 1,000 metres. It was salvaged in 1961 and is on display at the Vasa Museum in Stockholm, one of Sweden’s most popular tourist spots.

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Northeast Wrecks – Part 3: Artificial Reef Wrecks

Venturo Tug, New Jersey, USA
Diver at propeller of Venturo Tug, Point Pleasant, New Jersey, USA

In Part One and Part Two of this series, we discussed US Northeast wrecks that sank because of collisions and war. There are also many structures that have purposely been sunk as artificial reefs off the New York and New Jersey coasts. Larry Cohen and Olga Torrey have the story.

Multibeam sonar image of the SS Mesaba lying on the sea bed in the Irish Sea.

The ship that tried to warn the Titanic has been found

The British merchant steamship SS Mesaba sent a warning radio message to the Titanic on April 15, 1912 while crossing the Atlantic. The message was received by the Titanic – which was advertised as unsinkable – but did not reach the main control centre of the vessel.

Later that night, the supposedly unsinkable Titanic hit an iceberg and sank on her maiden voyage, taking 1,500 lives and becoming the world’s most infamous shipwreck.