News and Events
POSITIVE SIDE OF TSUNAMI:
Indian divers have found more evidence of an ancient port city, apparently revealed by December's tsunami. Stone structures that are "clearly man-made" were seen on the seabed off the south coast, archaeologists say.
They could be part of the mythical city of Mahabalipuram, which legend says was so beautiful that the gods sent a flood that engulfed six of its seven temples. Other relics were revealed when the powerful waves washed away sand as they smashed into the Tamil Nadu coast. The Archaeological Survey of India launched the diving expedition after residents reported seeing a temple and other structures as the sea pulled back just before the tsunami hit.
The new finds were made close to the 7th Century beachfront Mahabalipuram temple, which some say is the structure that survived the wrath of the gods. "They're perfect rectangular blocks, arranged in a clear pattern."
Other discoveries made at Mahabalipuram earlier this month include a granite lion of a similar age to the temple that experts believe had been buried for centuries before the tsunami shifted the sand. Archaeologists have been working at the site for the last three years, since another diving expedition discovered what appeared to be a submerged city, including at least one temple.
Mention Blackbeard's head, and it conjures images of the pirate's decapitation after his final battle off Ocracoke. But state divers found something at the Queen Anne's Revenge shipwreck site last week that gives a whole new meaning to the term. "It's a pissdale; it's essentially a urinal" said Richard Lawrence, head of the N.C. Underwater Archaeology branch. And they were apparently pretty common on 18th century vessels - at least in the officers' quarters, said David Moore, nautical archaeologist and maritime historian for the N.C. Maritime Museum.
"Basically it's just a tapered lead tube that leads from the 'seat of ease,' as they called it out into the water," Moore said. (I've looked around the web for a picture of one but haven't found any- Dan)
It is similar to one Moore saw while working on the wreckage of the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that went down off Key West, Fla., in 1700. He has seen reports of pissdales found on other shipwrecks from the period.
Divers found the artifact in the area of the wreckage believed to have been the stern of the vessel. It's the same area of the wreckage from which divers have brought up scientific instruments.