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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Maritime News-January

Medieval Fishing Village Discovered in the Western Isles of Scotland

Intertidal Fishtrap. Image by OHCCMAPP.
This village was discovered near Loch Aineort, on South Uistthrough the assistance of local experts-the people that live there. The Outer Hebrides Coastal Community Marine Archaeology Pilot Project is being conducted by the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland, WA Coastal and Marine, and Historic Scotland and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar. 
"[W]e're relying on the knowledge of people who live and work on or near the sea, and who might have noticed something out of the ordinary, either in a fishing net, or at an especially low tide."-Dr. Jonathon Benjamin

Costa Concordia Wreck
Costa Concordia damage, photo published by the Telegraph

Costa Concordia, photo c. ANP,
The very real process behind shipwrecks and sunken treasure was illustrated in the capsizing of the luxury cruise liner Costa Concordia on January 13, 2012, off the coast of Giglio, Italy. In spite of the allure of sunken treasure, it is right to remember that it is often a product of tragedy and loss of life. Rescue divers stopped looking for bodies on January 31, 2012, and there are 32 estimated deaths from this incident. The next step is to remove the fuel and other pollutants from the ship. Some people suggest that treasure hunters will want to jump right in the water on this one.

In the aftermath of the horrible tragedy of the Costa Concordia, UNESCO urges world heritage ports to improve reevaluate maritime traffic routes and reexamine emergency plans. Over 300 cruise ships visit the City of Water every year.

Sea Chanties

Sea chanties sung in a traditional sing-along aboard the Balclutha at the San Francisco's Maritime National Historical Park. Check out the link below for a nice audio clip.

South Street Seaport Museum Reopens

Photo by rockinfree at
South Street Seaport Museum re-opens doors after severe cuts and financial hardship shut down the museum for nearly a year. New exhibits on display includes photography from the Occupy Wall Street movement.

HMS Olympus Identified

The HMS Olympus (submarine) sunk in May of 1942 after striking a mine after departing Malta Harbour. Discovered during a side-scan sonar survey by Aurora Trust, the vessel appears to be in great condition. It was discovered some time ago, but has recently been identified as the Olympus.

Recovering Artifacts from the HMS Victory
Photo published by BBC News
What's next for the HMS Victory? Recovery of historical artifacts. The Maritime Heritage Foundation, along with Odyssey Marine Exploration, will begin recovering artifacts after the completion of an archaeological survey through Odyssey's ROV. The chairman of the foundation, Lord Lingfield, is actually related to one of the 1,000 men who drowned with the ship, Admiral Sir John Balchin. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Review-Legendary Journeys:Ships

Lavery, Brian. 2011. Legendary Journeys: Ships. Kingfisher, New York.

My son received an awesome Christmas present from his grandparents, a fully illustrated children's book about ships!! "The slide-out, lift-up, see-through story of world famous ships and voyages" is perfect for introducing maritime history to children, particularly Kindergarten through 5th graders. This book is written by Brian Lavery, a well-known maritime historian who received a Maritime Media Award in 2007 and the Society for Nautical Research's Anderson Medal in 2008.

One of the best aspects of this book (from my grown-up perspective) is the wide chronological range and thorough discussion of a variety of ships. Although prehistoric boats are not mentioned, the development of water-going vessels throughout history are accurately portrayed and described. That is another thing I love about this book. The pictures with the slide out pages truly capture the ratios of many of these vessels. The Titanic at 175 feet high and about 883 feet long has a ratio of about 1:5 (length to beam ration 1:10) and this length is definitely captured in the slide out panels.

The major development in shipbuilding technology are also captured-with details about the sailing developments in the Age of Exploration and technological developments in the Age of Steam. Lavery also includes Naval maritime developments. And he talks about both historical and modern ports, a topic that sometimes gets left out of illustrated ship books.

In addition to being academically accurate, Lavery uses language that can be understood by kids. He describes cool stuff like dragon figureheads, while also describing more difficult topics, such as the slave trade, and does so in a straight-forward non-graphic way. It was definitely a fun and easy read! I read a mommy abridged version to my 2 year old and he loved it as well. I look forward to the day when he can read and explore this book all by himself!

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Maritime Culture by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License