Archaeologists are creating a permanent digital record of shipwrecks around European coasts. By recording the precise 3D arrangement of timbers and cargo from the wrecks the researchers aim to preserve the information they contain about past civilisations even if the wrecks are damaged or destroyed.
Scientists and members of the general public would in future be able to float over the wrecks in a virtual submarine from the comfort of their own desks. For researchers, this would allow them to explore the wreck and make decisions about future excavations without spending large amounts of money going out to sea. [continue, see video]
From This is London: Divers discover amazingly preserved shipwreck of HMS London on bottom of Thames.
The largest-ever post-war salvage operation on the Thames has discovered seven shipwrecks up to 350 years old.
They include a warship that was blown up in 1665, a yacht converted to a Second World War gunboat, and a mystery wreck in which divers found a personalised gin bottle.
The vessels, in the Thames Estuary, are just some of about 1,100 ships which went down in the whole of the river.
The salvage by Wessex Archaeology and the Port of London Authority, which regulates the river, was both historical and practical.
Jagged metal from the wrecks which stick out of the mud, silt, and gravel act as a ‘can-opener’ that can split apart vessels, especially large container ships which can skim within half a metre of the riverbed. [continue, see images]