Types of Metal Detecting Activities, page 27
SHIPWRECK DIVING & METAL DETECTING:
Research Ship's Name, History, Ownership, Cargo Type Through Various Sources
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Most successful treasure hunters start the process with a lot of thorough research. The starting phase of research includes finding out who has sailed across the area of search and why, what shipwrecks occurred in the area, what maritime battles (if any) took place in the area, and whether the waters had a history of pirating in the past.
Then obtaining the sunken ship's name and approximate date of her sinking are the next steps of the research project. The ship's name, for example, could be obtained from the local divers who have found the ship's bell or capstan cover.
Sport and recreational divers can also provide you with valuable information on a shipwreck such as depth, condition, layout, aquatic life, types of artifacts and currents. Now your objective is to trace the ship's history, ownership, type of cargo that was transported at the time of sinking, etc.
The sources of information available to the shipwreck diver may include the knowledge of local fisherman and divers, articles in old newspapers (can be obtained on microfiche at libraries) and in diving or fishing magazines, Navy and Coast Guard archives, marine museums, well researched books with invaluable information (available at local libraries or through dive shops), National Archives in Washington, D.C. (inquiries can be made by mail), and primary source material - original shipping logs, available in the museums or archives located in the countries of origin.
You can also get a lot of useful information such as where ships may have gone down, what the conditions may have been and even the currents in the area if you do your research online. On the internet, there are web sites from which you can download wreck location's GPS coordinates and LORAN coordinate list for coastal states.
Any form of research can narrow the search area down and save you lots of time and effort. Here is a list of official places where information on shipwrecks can be obtained:
Library of Congress
Burton Historical Collection
Bermuda Maritime Museum
Canadian Hydrographic Service
Imperial War Museum
Archives Of The Indies
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