Curious about still-hidden archaeological treasures?
Just add water—that’s the concept behind the emerging field of underwater archaeology.
But don’t be deceived: It’s anything but simple, and recent advances have made it one of the most exciting forms of modern archaeological research.
It’s always been difficult to access sites under water, but there’s a particular allure to potential archaeological sites hidden under oceans, lakes, and rivers.
Shipwrecks are far from the only thing to document, study, and preserve underwater: there’s also everything from very ancient human remains to submerged settlements, like portions of ancient Alexandria, the Egyptian city that partially sank into the Mediterranean over the centuries.
Over the years, the relatively recent discipline of underwater archaeology (which really got going with the use of scuba in the mid-20th century) has branched off into a number of subdisciplines that look at everything from how humans interact with water to the search for airplanes that make water their final resting place.
And plenty of above-ground archaeologists eventually find themselves looking to nearby bodies of water for answers.
Finding an ancient Spanish shipwreck Led by clues found in old documents, maritime archaeologist Robert Grenier makes a thrilling discovery.
Often, the hunt for underwater objects presents serious logistical and interpretive questions.
It can be expensive to look underwater at all, and researchers must recruit divers (who are often also archaeologists) with the ability to document and handle delicate objects appropriately.
Weather conditions and tides can stymie an expedition.
And once a site is located, it can be tricky to study.
Water is dynamic, and objects are susceptible to its ebb and flow.
It can break up materials and jumble them in a way that makes interpretation difficult.
Conservation can be even trickier; water can be hard on already delicate objects, and moving a newly recovered object is even harder when it’s underwater.
This illustration shows a remotely operated submersible used in underwater research.
Illustration by Richard Schlecht, Nat Geo Image collection
Luckily, archaeologists have plenty of technology to combat those challenges. LiDAR can reveal structures and objects underwater and map sites; sonar, magnetometors, and other remote sensing devices can help, too.
Advanced photography and videography can bring sites to life even for those who’ll never venture into the water.
And a new generation of submersibles is driving new discoveries.
The R/V Petrel, for example, carries two onboard robots that have helped uncover 21 World War II vessels, including the U.S.S. Indianapolis.
Underwater archaeology also depends on good relationships with other communities familiar with the bodies of water they work in.
That became clear to researchers who were alerted to a large cache of shipwrecks near Fourni, Greece, by a local fisher.
The assistance of the area’s fishers ended up helping archaeologists discover 23 shipwrecks in the area in 22 days.
Volunteers can drive much of the field, as in Florida, where volunteers work alongside archaeologists.
Octavio del Rio examines a skull from a funerary deposit in northern Yucatan, Mexico.
Photograph by Wes C. Skiles, Nat Geo Image collection
Local and international laws also apply: UNESCO, the UN’s cultural arm, has established international law around underwater cultural heritage that mandates in situ (“in place”) preservation as the ideal option when researching a submerged archaeological site.
That means many underwater finds must be left where they were found.
This can add another layer of challenge for researchers who document sites with locations that may never be revealed to the public in order to prevent vandalism or looting.
Other sites do find public lives, as did Baiae, a Roman seaside resort that is now an underwater museum open to visitors.
Working under the waves is challenging, but it can offer rich rewards for those seeking to understand the past.
Marie Tharp was born on July 30, 1920, in the city of Ypsilanti, Michigan.
As a young girl she followed her father, a soil surveyor for the United States Department of Agriculture, into the field.
She also loved to read and wanted to study literature at St.
John's College in Annapolis, but women were not allowed to join the courses.
So she went to Ohio University, where she graduated in 1943.
Marie Tharp used hundreds of seismic profiles to reconstruct the topography of the seafloor, like here of the Atlantic Ocean.
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Marie Tharp
She worked for a short time in the petroleum industry, but found the work unrewarding and decided to resume her studies at Tulsa University, Oklahoma.
In 1948 she graduated in mathematics and found a job at the Lamont Geological Laboratory at Columbia University.
At the time the U.S. Navy was interested in mapping the seafloor, believed to be of strategic importance for future submarine warfare.
Marie started a prolific collaboration with geologist Bruce Charles Heezen, a specialist for seismic and topographic data obtained from the seafloor.
As a woman, Marie was not allowed to get on board the research ships.
Instead, she interpreted and visualized the collected data in her laboratory, producing large hand-drawn maps of the seafloor.
By interpolating and plotting the echo soundings of the seafloor collected from the research ship in 1957 Marie Tharp noted the strange bathymetry of valleys and ridges of the mid-Atlantic ridge.
The existence of a ridge under the Atlantic Ocean was discovered during the expedition of HMS Challenger in 1872, taking depth measurements across the ocean.
In 1925 it was confirmed by sonar that the ridge of unknown origin extends around the Cape of Good Hope into the Indian Ocean, making it one of the most extended mountain range on Earth.
Marie Tharp suggested that the mid-ocean ridges had "rift valleys" running along their axes where new crust is formed, pushing apart blocks of older crust, forming the ridges.
Her idea dismissed at the time as "girl talk" by one of the expedition's leaders.
Original sketch by Tharp of the seafloor in the Mid-Atlantic.
Between 1959 and 1977 she continued to work on various large-scale maps that would depict the still mostly unknown bathymetry of the seafloor.
Not too many people can say this about their lives: The whole world was spread out before me (or at least, the 70 percent of it covered by oceans).
I had a blank canvas to fill with extraordinary possibilities, a fascinating jigsaw puzzle to piece together: mapping the world’s vast hidden seafloor.
It was a once-in-a-lifetime—a once-in-the-history-of-the-world—opportunity for anyone, but especially for a woman in the 1940s.
The nature of the times, the state of the science, and events large and small, logical and illogical, combined to make it all happen.
This animation portrays the motion of continents (grey, yellow, orange and red) and oceanic plates (blue) since Pangea breakup from 200 million years ago.
The model is a modified version of the Seton et al. (2012) plate reconstruction, and is used to analyse factors affecting plate velocities in Zahirovic et al. (2015).
The results indicate that continental keels slow down plate velocities, where Archean cratons (red) have the strongest effect in limiting plate speeds. cortesy of EathByte, University of Sydney
The seafloor was not a series of muddy plains, as previously imagined by most geologists, but instead featured mountains, ridges and canyons, sometimes larger and deeper as any example found on the continents.
Along the mid-ocean rifts, molten rock rises up from Earth's mantle, pushing and pulling apart the oceanic crust.
This mechanism is not limited to the oceans but also involves the continents and is the driving force behind plate tectonics.
Photograph by Gabriel Scarlett, National Geographic Best known
for his 1985 discovery of the Titanic, National Geographic Explorer
Robert Ballard studies video monitors inside the control room of the
research vessel E/V Nautilus. Robert Ballard is on a mission to find out what happened to Amelia Earhart when she disappeared during her quest to be the first woman to fly around the world
It’s a balmy tropical night south of the equator in the Pacific Ocean, but inside the control room of the E/V Nautilus it’s cold and dark and hushed.
Banks of monitors provide the only light.
Moving around is treacherous—wires hang along the walls and the space between work stations is narrow.
Despite the heat outside, crew members wear fleece to fend off the frigid air.
Their voices are barely audible as they speak softly to each other through headsets.
The screens mounted on the black-painted walls provide a vision of another world.
One shows a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) floating in shadowy blue light, dwarfed by what looks to be a massive cliff face.
Another screen provides a closer view—bedrock and coral rubble occasionally obscured by a flurry of marine snow.
“We’re looking for colors that aren’t natural to the background,” says Robert Ballard, as he stares intently at the screens from his perch in the back row.
The man who found the Titanic is on a mission to find out what happened to Amelia Earhart when she disappeared during her quest to be the first woman to fly around the world.
Earhart would likely have been enraptured by the ship’s space-age display.
The aviator always had her eye on the future, whether it was records to be broken in the skies or new paths to be forged by women.
She even ventured underwater in an early version of a diving suit.
Yet she would have been astonished at the technological wonders being marshaled to discover her fate.
Ballard has directed his state-of-the-art ship, the E/V Nautilus, to the waters off Nikumaroro, an isolated ring of coral and sand surrounding a turquoise lagoon.
Only four and a half miles long and one and a half miles wide, the island appears on most maps as a mere speck in the vast Pacific Ocean.
Inside the control room, crewmembers pilot remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) and keep round-the-clock vigil in four-hour shifts.
“There are various theories about where Amelia’s plane landed, and some of them are a little wild,” says Ballard, a National Geographic Explorer.
Some people believe Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan ended up in the Marshall Islands, some say Saipan or even New Jersey, others that the plane crashed and sank.
“We’re going with the one that she actually landed.”
On July 2, 1937, Earhart and Noonan were aiming for Howland Island, which is even smaller than Nikumaroro.
After taking off from Lae, New Guinea, on the third to last leg of Earhart’s attempt to circumnavigate the globe, they failed to locate Howland and vanished without a trace.
The International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has spent the last several decades investigating the hypothesis that Earhart and Noonan landed their Lockheed Electra 10E on Nikumaroro when they couldn’t find Howland.
The researchers base their hypothesis on Earhart’s last radio transmissions.
At 8:43 a.m. on July 2, Earhart radioed the Itasca, the U.S. Coast Guard cutter awaiting Earhart at Howland: "KHAQQ [the Electra's call letters] to Itasca. We are on the line 157 337."
The Itascareceived the transmission but couldn't get any bearings on the signal.
The “line 157 337” indicates that the plane was flying on a northwest to southeast navigational line that bisected Howland Island.
If Earhart and Noonan missed Howland, they would fly either northwest or southeast on the line to find it.
To the northwest of Howland lies open ocean for thousands of miles; to the southeast is Nikumaroro.
The line-of-position radio message was the last confirmed transmission from Earhart, but radio operators received 57 messages that could have been from the Electra.
Wireless stations took direction bearings on seven of them.
Five of those crossed near Nikumaroro, then called Gardner island.
Ballard's search centers on Nikumaroro Island, an uninhabited atoll that's part of the Micronesian nation of Kiribati.
Some researchers believe Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan landed here and died as castaways.At the time of Earhart’s disappearance, the tide on Nikumaroro was especially low, revealing a reef surface along the shore long and flat enough for a plane to land.
If Earhart sent any of those 57 radio transmissions, the plane must have landed relatively intact.
The TIGHAR researchers theorize that Earhart and Noonan radioed at night to avoid the searing daytime heat inside the aluminum plane.
Eventually the tide lifted the Electra off the reef, and it sank or broke up in the surf.
The last credible transmission was heard on July 7, 1937.
Members of TIGHAR have traveled to the island 13 times, but never with the technological tools that Ballard has at his disposal.
The Nautilus is equipped with a multi-beam sonar on the hull, two ROVs with high definition cameras, an autonomous surface vehicle (ASV), and multiple drones—plus Ballard’s years of experience finding treasures under the sea.
Outfitted with an array of underwater sensors, E/V Nautilus works a grid-like search pattern Ballard likens to "mowing the lawn."On this expedition he’s aiming to discover where Earhart’s plane ended up after it tumbled off the reef.
It’s painstaking work.
The Nautilus didn’t approach the island directly but took a sweeping path that allowed the sonar to map the underwater terrain.
But the ship couldn’t get too close; the reef is extremely dangerous, as demonstrated by the wreckage from the S.S.
Norwich City that still dominates the northeastern shore of the island.
Once the Nautilus arrived at the island, a routine quickly developed: Send out the ASV (essentially a robot boat) to map the terrain near the surf.
When it returns, analyze the data to see what, as Ballard puts it, “comes out of the soup.” Ballard and his colleagues are looking for targets—anomalies—though a lack of them doesn’t mean nothing interesting lies below the waves.
Ballard puts great stock in laying eyes on his quarry.
“Everything I ever found was found visually,” he says.
Earhart and navigator Fred Noonan consult a map of the Pacific that shows the planned route of their round-the-world flight.That’s where the ROVs come in.
Usually launched at night, they can go as deep as 4,000 meters.
Hercules, a bright yellow box with a metal base, offers the first-person view, while smaller Argus keeps a camera pointed at Hercules.
The ROV pilots operate on four-hour shifts day and night, and mostly they don’t see much.
But on the first night they found wreckage—items that looked to be a propeller, a boiler, a crank shaft, and much more—all from the Norwich City.
It wasn’t the wreck Ballard was looking for, but it answered an important question: How deep could the plane go? The Norwich City debris clustered at depths between 100 to 300 meters.
“Anything of similar mass—part of a plane or part of a ship—would have been sliding down slope in that zone,” explains expedition leader Allison Fundis.
“We’re really focusing on that zone with the ROV dives.”
When the pilots do spot something, their reactions tend to be muted (unless it’s a charismatic creature such as a dumbo octopus).
During a recent watch a tube-shaped metallic object hove into view.
The Hercules pilot murmured, “It looks anthropogenic.
Should I pick it up?”
The answer was yes.
After a moment of hesitation, Hercules stretched out its arm and very slowly closed its pincers around the tube and delicately placed the item into a white storage container on its side.
What was it?
The answer would have to wait until the ROVs were recovered and the box could be opened, which wouldn’t be until the next day.
Spoiler alert: It was not part of Earhart’s plane.
Instead, it appeared to be a piece of oceanographic equipment—a sign that other explorers had been here before Ballard.
Ballard shrugs off false alarms, especially this early in the search.
“We did this nine days for the Titanic,” he says.
Amelia Earhart had planned to use her Electra to test the latest in aviation equipment—even nicknaming it the “Flying Laboratory.” By the end of this expedition to find the pilot and her plane, the Nautilus’s equipment will be tested to the limits, and the small island of Nikumaroro will be thoroughly mapped.
Whether her fate is discovered or not, maybe Earhart would be satisfied with that result. Links :
The Navy will begin reverting destroyers back to a physical throttle and traditional helm control system in the next 18 to 24 months, after the fleet overwhelmingly said they prefer mechanical controls to touchscreen systems in the aftermath of the fatal USS John S. McCain (DDG-56) collision.
Damage to the left side is visible as the destroyer USS John S. McCain steers towards Changi Naval Base, Singapore, following a collision with a merchant vessel on Aug. 21, 2017.
The Navy is replacing touch-screen throttles and helms on destroyers with hand-held ones after determining that the McCain's controls caused confusion that contributed to the collision. Joshua Fulton / U.S. Navy
The investigation into the collision showed that a touchscreen system that was complex and that sailors had been poorly trained to use contributed to a loss of control of the ship just before it crossed paths with a merchant ship in the Singapore Strait.
After the Navy released a Comprehensive Review related to the McCain and the USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62) collisions, Naval Sea Systems Command conducted fleet surveys regarding some of the engineering recommendations, Program Executive Officer for Ships Rear Adm. Bill Galinis said.
USS Fitzgerald returning to Yokosuka, Japan, after the collision
Picture: US Navy
“When we started getting the feedback from the fleet from the Comprehensive Review effort – it was SEA 21 (NAVSEA’s surface ship lifecycle management organization) that kind of took the lead on doing some fleet surveys and whatnot – it was really eye-opening.
And it goes into the, in my mind, ‘just because you can doesn’t mean you should’ category.
We really made the helm control system, specifically on the [DDG] 51 class, just overly complex, with the touch screens under glass and all this kind of stuff,” Galinis said during a keynote speech at the American Society of Naval Engineers’ annual Fleet Maintenance and Modernization Symposium.
“So as part of that, we actually stood up an organization within Team Ships to get after bridge commonality.”
Galinis said that bridge design is something that shipbuilders have a lot of say in, as it’s not covered by any particular specification that the Navy requires builders to follow.
As a result of innovation and a desire to incorporate new technology, “we got away from the physical throttles, and that was probably the number-one feedback from the fleet – they said, just give us the throttles that we can use.”
Galinis told USNI News after his speech that “we’re already in the contracting process, and it’s going to come on almost as a kit that’s relatively easy to install.
[NAVSEA] would do it – it’s not something that the ship would do – but it doesn’t need to be done during a CNO availability, we think it could be done during a smaller one.
Obviously, we have to work our way through that, but that’s the vision.”
In total, the NTSB found seven safety issues associated with the crash. Safety issues identified in this accident include the following:
The decision to transfer the location of thrust control on board the John S McCain while the vessel was in a congested waterway
The lack of very high frequency radio communications between the vessels
The automatic identification system data transmission policy for Navy vessels
The procedures for the transfers of steering and thrust control on board the John S McCain
The training of Navy bridge watchstanders
The design of the destroyer’s Integrated Bridge and Navigation System
Navy watchstanders’ fatigue
NTSB Image with Navy redactions
NAVSEA spokeswoman Colleen O’Rourke told USNI News that “the Navy is designing and planning to install physical throttles on all DDG-51 class ships with the Integrated Bridge and Navigation System (IBNS), the ship control console with the touch-screen throttle control.
The first throttle installation is scheduled for summer of 2020, after the hardware and software changes have been developed and fully tested to ensure the new configuration is safe, effective, and has training in place.
The first in-service ship planned to receive the install is DDG-61; the first new construction ship planned to receive the install is DDG-128.
A contract award to support these efforts is planned for this fiscal year.”
During a later panel, Galinis said that PEO Ships is also looking at variance in bridge designs and systems within ship classes – primarily the LHA/LHD amphibious assault ships, and to a lesser extent the LPD-17 amphibious transport docks – but he added that PEO Ships isn’t trying to achieve fleet-wide commonality at this time.
“Where we do have some variance (within ship classes) and what changes we should make to improve the functionality of standing bridge” are the focus of this ongoing engineering effort, he said.
Also during the panel, Navy chief engineer and NAVSEA deputy commander for ship design, integration and engineering Rear Adm. Lorin Selby said that the move to achieve greater commonality is not just limited to where helm control systems are installed in the bridge, but how functions appear on the screens of the control systems, and anything else that would contribute to confusion for a sailor moving from one ship to another within the same class.
“When you look at a screen, where do you find heading?
Is it in the same place, or do you have to hunt every time you go to a different screen?
So the more commonality we can drive into these kind of human-machine interfaces, the better it is for the operator to quickly pick up what the situational awareness is, whatever aspect he’s looking at, whether it’s helm control, radar pictures, whatever.
So we’re trying to drive that,” Selby said.
He added that NAVSEA meets once a month to talk about progress on any of the hundreds of recommendations that came out of the Comprehensive Review and the related Strategic Readiness Review that touch NAVSEA.
That progress is reported up from NAVSEA to the vice chief of naval operations, who is overseeing monitoring progress implementing CR and SRR recommendations.
Some of the recommendations will require more substantive changes to address, such as the helm control system backfit effort.
Others are much simpler but just require the thought by engineers to make sure ship operators have access to systems they need in an intuitive way.
Seaman Joseph Brown mans an older verison of helm controls on the bridge of USS Donald Cook (DDG-75) on July 25, 2019.
US Navy Photo
John Pope, the executive director for the program executive office for command, control, communications, computers and intelligence (C4I), said the ships have a laptop in the bridge that runs the Automatic Identification System (AIS) receiver.
Ship crews have, in the aftermath of the Fitzgerald and McCain collisions, complained that the laptops have a finicky connection to the ship via cables, and that they are located behind other gear and hard to access, and other issues that should be easy to address now that there’s a discussion about simplifying the user experience in the bridge.
“We’re going back and relocating that whole configuration– it’s easy to walk a laptop aboard, but how do you make sure that it’s being used right, configured correctly, and a sailor can rely on that?” Pope said.
“So that’s something we picked up out of the Comprehensive Review.”
A sweeping history of naval warfare told through the evidence of sunken ships scattered around the globe.
There is something warmly nostalgic yet also chilling about shipwrecks.
Proud vessels that sailed the seas lie hidden beneath the waves.
Some wrecks squat in muddy waters a few meters deep; other are entombed in icy depths miles beneath the surface.
The ruins of warships hold a special fascination: Their underwater resting places can amount to a map of what occurred during battle, sometimes unread for centuries.
In “War at Sea,” James P. Delgado delivers a sweeping history of naval warfare told through the evidence of sunken ships scattered around the globe.
Mr.vDelgado has spent a career researching shipwrecks and diving down to them.
In 2001, he produced “Lost Warships, An Archaeological Tour of War at Sea,” a large-format survey of the subject.
At least half of the material in that book reappears in “War at Sea”—some of it verbatim—but there is also a good bit of new material drawn from what Mr.
Delgado terms the “exponential growth” in warship discoveries over the past 20 years.
A British transport sinking at an unknown location after being torpedoed by a German submarine. Photo : Naval history and heritage command
One purpose of Mr. Delgado’s narrative is to trace the development of seaborne technologies and the changes they brought about in naval warfare, even ahead of shipwreck evidence.
He describes, for instance, the innovation of the ram at the bow of Greek galleys around 850 B.C.
as “the ancient equivalent of introducing gunpowder.”
There are observations on tactics as well, such as the maneuverability of Octavian’s smaller ships as they won victory darting about and ramming the larger vessels of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium in 31 B.C.
No wrecks from that battle have been found, but there are numerous sites in northern Europe dating from around A.D. 1000 that provide what Mr. Delgado terms “a detailed sense of ‘Viking’ shipbuilding and warships”—vessels that included the gracefully curved hulls and tall bows of the type “used by the Danes and the Normans to conquer England.”
About the same time, Byzantine warships were operating in the Mediterranean: Some of them, retrieved by marine archaeologists, are preserved so well that one can see the benches where the rowers sat side by side, their oars passing through “leather sleeves that served as watertight gaskets.”
Across the globe, Chinese naval might ruled Asian waters in the 1400s and protected trade as far west as the Ottoman Empire.
An archaeological prize long sought but not yet discovered, Mr. Delgado says, is one of Adm. Zheng Ho’s massive treasure ships from this period—they likely “out-weighed, out-gunned, and out-classed anything afloat in a European navy.”
European powers were only beginning to build larger warships, and they “never came into contact with the full flower of Chinese naval might.”
Two of the most famous European shipwrecks from the era of sail are the well-preserved Mary Rose, sunk off Portsmouth, England, in 1545 en route to dueling a French fleet, and the Vasa, King Gustaf II Adolf’s prized galleon meant to rule the Baltic, sunk in Stockholm harbor in 1628 on its maiden voyage.
Both ships met their demise not from enemy guns but from top-heavy designs compounded by inept seamanship.
Mr. Delgado calls the Mary Rose a “Tudor naval time capsule,” yielding thousands of artifacts, including an array of longbows.
North America holds a treasure trove of wrecks, from the 16-gun British sloop Boscawen, lost on Lake Champlain during the French and Indian War, to flat-bottomed bateaux sunk by the British in the cold lake waters.
Preserving boats by gently sinking them meant they wouldn’t come to destruction from the winter ice or be captured by the enemy—and could be lifted up and made seaworthy again.
Search technology, Mr. Delgado notes, has improved in recent years and led to many discoveries.
Multibeam sonar and ROVs (remotely operated vehicles) have permitted archaeologists to map not only individual wrecks from the 1915 Battle of Jutland in the North Sea but also the entire Jutland battlefield of some 3,000 square nautical miles.
In some cases, we now know whether ships were advancing or retiring during the battle.
The scale of World War II maritime archaeology staggers the imagination.
A total of 1,454 warships of all countries—and many thousands more merchant ships—were lost during the conflict.
The Battle of the Atlantic project, conducted in 2008-14, documented the losses of Allied warships and merchant ships and their predator U-boats at locations such as “Torpedo Junction” off Cape Hatteras, N.C., where U-boats made hundreds of kills within sight of the American coast.
There have also been hunts for the legendary ships from the conflict: the German battleship Bismarck (found in 1989), the British battleship Hood (2001) and the American aircraft carrier Yorktown off Midway (1998): all were sunk in battle.
Robert D. Ballard, the man who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in the 1980s, led the efforts to locate the Bismarck and Yorktown.
Mr. Delgado has been involved with not only research on the USS Arizona at Pearl Harbor but also the initial search for a Japanese midget submarine reportedly fired upon in the outer harbor that Sunday morning.
In 2002, the sub was located with a hole in its conning tower, validating the report of the captain of the destroyer Ward.
As for the Ward itself, it eventually participated in the Battle of Leyte in the Philippines, where it was sunk in December 1944.
The wreck was found in 2017, one of the discoveries made by a team of marine archaeologists financed by the Microsoft billionaire Paul Allen.
In the past two years expeditions have located the cruiser Juneau off Guadalcanal, the final resting place of the five Sullivan brothers who insisted on serving together; the cruiser Indianapolis, sailing alone after delivering components of the first atomic bomb; and the carrier Lexington, sunk by the U.S.
Navy in May 1942 to keep it from falling into Japanese hands after sustaining bomb damage in the Battle of the Coral Sea.
And discoveries continue.
Last month, the wreck of the USS Eagle 56, one of 60 identical ships of the Eagle class of patrol boats, was found off the coast of Maine.
Evidence from the site suggests that the Eagle 56 was sunk not by a boiler explosion, as long thought, but by a torpedo—making it the last U.S. warship sunk by a German submarine.
Readers of “War at Sea” may find themselves wishing for even more about the World War II wrecks, given how many have been found and how dramatic their battle histories are.
And readers may wish to know more of Mr. Delgado’s personal experience, given the hints he offers of his own shipwreck searches.
Having written a highly readable survey of naval warfare and technology, he clearly has more stories to tell.