Lost Whaling Ships Discovered in Arctic Thanks to Global Warming
The two recently found vessels may have been part of a disaster that hastened the end of American whaling.
When archaeologists searched the remote northwestern coast of Alaska this fall, they didn't think they'd find much of interest, or anything intact, due to the area's extreme weather and destructive cycles of freezing and thawing. But then they were surprised to come across large sections of wooden hulls from two nineteenth century whaling ships, as well as artifacts like anchors, chains, struts, and pots for whale oil.
"One would expect anything sitting on the seabed for that long to have been ground to sawdust by the ice," says Brad Barr, an archaeologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the project co-director.
The ships were first discovered by the archaeologists in September, though NOAA released its report Wednesday, after completing an analysis