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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Maritime News-November

Earliest recorded fish hook excavated at the Jerimalai Cave site in East Timor. Evidence that prehistoric man  was deep-sea fishing 42,000 BP.

Divers in 'gigantic' 17th-century warship find
17th century shipwreck found off the Swedish coast believed to be the warship Svardet

Excellent video on the Ghost Wreck in the Baltic Sea, a different wreck than the Svardet. Both wrecks were recorded by Deep Sea Productions and MMT.

Foss Maritime Company of Seattle and the Puget sound are honored for environmental excellence. Check out information on Thea Foss founder of this company.

Ceramic pots in the Baltic Region are examined for evidence of land, sea and freshwater resources.

Droughts lower Texas lake levels, artifacts revealed, looting becoming a serious issue.

Bali Yatra Festival in Odisha (Orissa), India brings tourists from all over the world to experience maritime culture and commerce.

Excavation will begin to dig up a ship buried in Koombana Bay. Generic image
Two possible shipwrecks found in magnetometer survey to be excavated in Bunbury, Western Australia. Flinders University students work closely with WA Maritime Museum.

Cannon unveiling at St. Augustine, Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program (click here for video)

St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation breaks ground for construction of replica 16th century ships and port.

West Wight's Sunken Secrets published-apps for finding wrecks while diving the Isle of Wight


Heritage Lottery Fund grants 1.4 million pounds to the Royal Museum of the Navy in Portsmouth, UK to create exhibits showcasing naval history of the last one hundred years.

Province of Nova Scotia funding design study for Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic in Lunenberg, Canada.

Australian National Maritime Museum reintroduced entry fee

Maritime Feast at the Custom House Maritime Museum in Newburyport, Massachusetts with traditional dishes of early French and Yankee Settlers.


Condition of artifacts from the Erie Belle shipwreck stored at the Walker House Museum in Ontario, Canada. Artifacts donated by local diver.


Planning for redevelopment of Bay City port, Michigan. Timeline of all the key planning and design studies that go into port preservation and development. Check it out-very unique news presentation!

Odisha, India. Maritime Archaeologists uncover the rich maritime heritage of the Odisha coast.

"Reef chief recommends port rethink", lol, that title was too awesome to change!

Archaeologists recording coastal heritage in Dalma Island, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.


Özkan Gülkaynak, the sea traveling ‘Crazy Turk' publishing his adventures-On the East Side of the Route to Freedom.

Peter Blanker's novel "When Rats Eat the Fat" is launched at Shetland Museum and Archives, the story is based on a shipwreck in 1653 near Yell, Amsterdam.

Marine Art exhibit-the 15th National Exhibition of the American Society of Maritime Artists at Old School Square, Delray Beach, Florida.

"Moby!" a four month program in New Bedford, Massachusetts celebrating Herman Melville's Moby Dick.


2012 Classic Boat Calendar on sale now

Book Review-Poxed and Scurvied: The Story of Sickness and Health at Sea

*This is going to be a very informal review, as I am writing a formal book review for publication.

Brown, Kevin. 2011. Poxed and Scurvied: The Story of Sickness and Health at Sea. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis

At first this book seems a bit unorganized, but as you continue to read the chapters, a pattern emerges. Each chapter is a new topic (or two) but always covers disease prevention, nutrition, diet, exercise, treatment aboard and treatment ashore. Usually in that order. Brown covers from the 14th century through today.

I'm not sure if it is because I worked at the Country Doctor Museum for a year during grad school or if it is that weird fascination that most people have about tragedy, but I really enjoyed this book. I found it interesting and insightful in so many ways. For example, most scholars reference the transmission of epidemics from old world to new world and the return-favor disease of syphilis. Brown goes farther, explaining why epidemics break out on ships, the development of maritime hospitals and quarantines to deal with these diseases, and the ground breaking work of ship surgeons. He explains that ships were the ideal control group with diseases accelerated by conditions, hygiene and lack of treatment options. Also the patients were all very similar-men, youngish, and had the same diet and environmental conditions=perfect control group!

Brown doesn't just focus on the sailors. Many have learned about the horrible conditions of slave ships. Brown presents some of those conditions and takes it further. He explains the motivating factor of money on health in the slave trade. It is cheaper to throw sick slaves into the sea before they die rather than report a sickness related death. And there is no monetary reason to treat sailors as they are less valuable than the slaves. He goes on to discuss emigrants on passenger ships-sometimes just as crowded as slave ships. He talks about the health exams before boarding, women and children's health aboard (first time large numbers of women and children were crossing oceans), and the infamous health exams at Ellis Island.

I learned a lot, and gathered some of the missing pieces in maritime medicine! I would recommend it to anyone interested in medical history or sickness at sea.

Friday, November 18, 2011

UNESCO visits Liverpool Port: Heritage versus Industry

I was with a group of Marine Option Program students in Maui and we passed through a scenic valley and there, in the middle of it, was an abandoned industrial building. The smokestacks were stark outlines in the sky and barren of smoke. It had a sort of beauty to it. A leftover image of an era gone by. The MOP Director stated that it was too bad that this building was ruining the beauty of the valley. I shared my thoughts and was dismissed by Director Hunt, who was a marine biologist. I briefly argued with the van full of marine biologists before giving it up. I wish I could have portrayed my awe and amazement at the progress of mankind! At the beauty of the industry and busy lives of men!

As an industrious people, it is often efficient to take down the old to make way for the new. This causes a crazy sort of balancing act for heritage issues. How much history do we try to preserve? It's generally recognized that we can't save it all. So the next question-how do we determine what is valuable enough to save? Is there ever a case where preservation actually prevents forward progress? How do we reconcile preserving industry with carrying forward industry?

UNESCO World Heritage Centre representatives arrived in Liverpool on November 14 to examine proposed port development in Liverpool, England. A report should be generated by December. Liverpool was designated a World Heritage Site in 2004. Media seemed to grab hold of the fact that Liverpool might lose its World Heritage Site status. There is concern that the proposed development would cause damage to the Three Graces, or rather, interfere with the view of the Three Graces. It seems apparent that no harm will come to the actual physical buildings from development. However, how will development affect the iconic beauty of the port?

This is actually a growing concern in numerous places. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has recently been attempting to define viewsheds through GIS mapping with the goal of preserving historic trails. Some states have enacted viewshed protection acts (IN, NH) and several cities have enacted viewshed protection codes and acts (Approaches to Viewshed Protection Around the Country). Cities and states seem to define viewsheds differently. Heights, view corridors, radii of viewsheds, are frequently included in viewshed protection. I think the BLM GIS studies are unique in that angles, viewer perspective, target height and natural obstructions are taken into account. The goals of these viewshed studies are to separate and allow development (like cell phone towers or pipelines) while preserving historic properties. 

Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City © English Heritage/National Monuments Record

The goal of Liverpool's proposed development is to regenerate the northern docklands. Pam Wiltshire stated "It's just a matter of balance between the needs of the World Heritage Site and the need to continue to regenerate and develop our economy." The last two decades have led to an increased understanding of preservation and conservation of artifacts, buildings, and monuments. Add to this the new development of viewshed protection and I think a balance between development and preservation can be achieved. As that understanding continues to grow. I think that as long as all of the issues are carefully considered and that the needs of the people are a priority, then heritage and industry can be balanced. The picture above captures the beauty of the Three Graces, while the picture below is also beautiful, in my opinion. It captures a blending of times and the industry of man, with the Great Western Railway building dating to the nineteenth century, the Three Graces dating to the twentieth century, and construction today in the twenty-first. I'm looking forward to reading the report and seeing if the Liverpool viewshed is considered during review of the proposed development.

The Three Graces
The Three Graces, with cranes at work on the nearby waterfront construction site Photograph: David Sillitoe for the Guardian
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Maritime Culture by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License