Random Jottings

Forget 'Timeteam' type surveys on land, for a real time capsule look to the sea

There are a generation in the UK brought up on 'Time team' type archeology where you have a limited time and the presenters wet themselves over a potshard......... for a real cross-section of the population look towards the sea!

Most 'old' wrecks that sank and were encapsulated in sand or silt give intimate details on the entire cross section of social life at the time, almost from Prince to Pauper via Pimp!


Around the British Isles we are fortunate insofar as the cooler water means that wood-eating worms are not as 'rampant' as more temperate locations, in turn this ensures that any wooden vessel that is lost has a 'chance' to settle into silt or sand and be preserved for history. And of course once cocooned in the protective dirt everything is held in limbo, although over time the salt water does impregnate the wood, organic and ferrous materials meaning that these items must be subject to preservation when removed from the water.

The massive advantage held by ships is that everything goes down and you are not left with junk and detritus that can give a false impression as to what the day to day was like for people of the era, you will find well preserved clothes, eating utensils, items made to while away the hours onboard ship and day to day knick-knacks and gee-gaws that are most probably not present on land digs.

Oh and of course they can cause scientific historians to have a major meltdown as was the case with the Antikythera Mechanism, a pre-Christian analogue computer which could be used to very accurately work out astronomical cycles which would help with both religious festivals and working out tidal influences. Discoveries like that simply rewrite history so who knows what seemingly insignificant find from these frozen time-capsules might cause a reappraisal of history.

Dive safe


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