PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V10 2007 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE




The E-Sylum:  Volume 10, Number 23, June 10, 2007, Article 22

A RESPONSE TO ODYSSEY'S CRITICS

Author Robert Kurson penned an opinion piece published for the 
New York Times on June 8. Titled 'Curators Under the Sea', his 
piece addresses critics of sea salvors such as Odyssey.

"Last month, a Florida-based treasure-hunting company made 
perhaps the richest undersea score ever. It discovered, somewhere 
in the Atlantic, a Colonial-era shipwreck containing more than 
500,000 silver coins and hundreds of gold coins. Total estimated 
value, according to one coin marketer: $500 million.

"In days of yore, pirates would have swarmed to such a bounty, 
declaring the treasure their own. Today, it attracts a new breed 
of raiders who believe just as strongly that the treasure is 
rightfully theirs ó and who get just as angry when things donít 
go their way. They are the academics ó professors, curators, 
historians and others who study, archive and preserve historical 
artifacts. Many of them despise the commercial treasure hunters 
for, as they see it, rampaging through shipwrecks with little 
regard for the delicate history at hand.

"The same case was made in 1991, when two recreational scuba 
divers discovered a World War II German U-boat ó complete with 
its 56-man crew ó that had sunk just off New Jersey. No military 
expert or historian had known of this wreck, its sailors or its 
story, and so it fell to these two ordinary men to embark on a 
six-year, fantastically dangerous quest to solve the mystery.

"As it happened, there was no treasure aboard this U-boat, but 
academics made virtually the same accusation: the divers, they 
said, were going to trample history in their quest to put a 
name on the warship.

"Nothing could have been further from the truth. Not for the divers 
ho undertook huge risks to preserve the U-boat. And not for treasure 
hunters, who have even greater incentives to be careful with 
their finds.

"Do they know how to handle the rarities they find? The academics 
scoff at the idea. But many of the finest conservation labs, the 
most up-to-date equipment and the best-trained archaeologists can 
be found on just the kind of treasure hunting quest that discovered 
the recent Colonial-era wreck.

"The real bottom line is this: if treasure hunters didnít do this 
kind of work, no one would. Without them and the people they work 
with ó the divers, fishermen, tipsters and amateur historians ó 
many of these wrecks would stay lost forever. Without the lure of 
a big and romantic payoff, no one would even look.

"Academics donít drag magnetometers and side-scan sonar equipment 
across the seas. They donít risk their lives, as the U-boat divers 
did, by removing their air tanks and corkscrewing through a 
labyrinth."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

Google
 
coinbooks.org Web
The Numismatic Bibliomania Society is a non-profit organization 
promoting numismatic literature. See our web site at coinbooks.org.

To submit items for publication in The E-Sylum, write to the Editor 
at this address: whomren@coinlibrary.com

To subscribe go to: https://my.binhost.com/lists/listinfo/esylum
Copyright © 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society.

PREV ARTICLE       NEXT ARTICLE       FULL ISSUE       PREV FULL ISSUE      

V10 2007 INDEX       E-SYLUM ARCHIVE


Copyright © 1998 - 2005 The Numismatic Bibliomania Society (NBS)
All Rights Reserved.

NBS Home Page
Contact the NBS webmaster