Top 10 Remarkable Finds Involving Old Ships And Explorers
The haunting remains of sunken ships make for more than just a gripping view. Each arrives like a time capsule, bringing bits of history and a fair share of mysteries.
In recent times, researchers have found fascinating alternative stories attached to known explorers, unique ships, and unexpected technical knowledge used by seafarers. Divers also continue to investigate great tragedies as well as encounter unbelievable treasures and massive ships in unexpected places.
10: New Franklin Artifacts
In 1845, Sir John Franklin sailed from Britain to find the Northwest Passage, which was said to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In one of history’s worst polar disasters, both ships, the HMS Erebus and the HMS Terror, were lost. All 129 crew members perished in the days after they abandoned the ice-trapped vessels.
To solve the cause of the ill-fated voyage, the wrecks became a sought-after prize. This dream came true in 2014 (Erebus turned up in Victoria Strait) and 2016 (the Terror was found near King William Island). The real mystery was what had happened after the crew members disembarked. Graves, artifacts, and notes were found, but none gave the full story.
In 2018, marine archaeologists attempted to reach Erebus but the season’s ice made conditions dangerous. It prevented the divers from reaching Franklin’s cabin and the captain’s log, which might hold clues about the fleet’s final days.
Archaeologists returned with nine new artifacts, including tools and a pitcher. Previous seasons had recovered cutlery, ship parts, bottles, and buttons. Interesting as these articles may be at over 170 years old, researchers hope to find more substantial items in the future. The logbook is a real possibility because the freezing temperatures would have preserved it.
9: The Lake Serpent
In 1829, a large schooner called the Lake Serpent was carrying a shipment of limestone when it sank in Lake Erie. The ship joined a unique club—the sunken fleet of the Great Lakes. Thanks to their treacherous waters, the Great Lakes have the most shipwrecks per square mile in the world.
Recently, researchers chose Lake Erie’s haystack of over 2,000 vessels to search for the Lake Serpent. As the oldest shipwreck in Lake Erie, it would be a valuable retrieval to enrich the Great Lakes’ history of transportation throughout the ages.
Using old news reports and government archives, a project was launched to find the Serpent. Scans found a small object near Kelleys Island. Although it was initially dismissed as a rock, a diving expedition discovered that the object was a wooden schooner.
Time had reduced its original size, but several clues suggested this was the Serpent. Records mentioned a snake carving on the bow, and divers found signs of a bow carving as well as signature limestone boulders in the hold.