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Scientists’ Statement on the 1871 Arctic Shipwreck

Dutch whalers in the 1800s

(Mirror Daily, United States) – One of the most interesting discoveries of the past decade occurred in August and September of last year, as parts of two whaling ships were found in the Arctic. After some researchers investigated them, here is the scientists’ statement on the 1871 Arctic shipwreck.

Back in the 19th century, whaling was even more intense than what the Japanese do today. Sometime probably in early 1871, a fleet of 33 whaling ships departed for the Alaskan Chukchi Sea, and remained stuck in ice.

After the shipwreck, 1,200 whalers had to wait around in the freezing Arctic temperatures until they were rescued by a contingency of 7 ships. The ships, of course, were left there, along with the materials used by the whalers to stay alive until rescue came.

A team of scientists had been working on a project involving that area of the Chukchi Sea for almost ten years when they finally got the funds to pursue the mission a few years ago.

With funds from the NOAA Office of Exploration and Research and equipment from several companies, the team set out to survey the area where they knew the shipwreck took place, without expecting to find anything of importance.

However, when they got there in the second week of August 2015, the team found that parts of two of the ships, as well as some of the campsite materials were left protected, possibly by a sandbar.

Some of the items found were two hulls, albeit flattened, anchors, rigging strops, as well as a wide array of other ship parts, as well as a small brick construction where the whalers made a fire and turned blubber into oil.

The team stresses how important and rare it was to find the historical relics they did, as they were left at the bottom of the seabed for 114 years.

Magnetometer data also showed what the researchers referred to as some very deep anomalies below the seabed. This would suggest that the other ships are likely under the seafloor.

Despite the importance of the findings, it would take too many resources to dig for the other ships, but an attempt will be made to secure the area as an archeological site.

The biggest set-back was posed by limited resources they had on them, including the small crew. This had the scientists work more than they should have, and slowed down the research.

However, the only reason for which anything was found was because of global warming, as a few years ago, the area where the ships were found would have been completely frozen.

Image source: Wikimedia

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