Artifact recovery, pro and con

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Posted by AADIVER on October 22, 2001 at 08:15:04:

As a co-founder of California Wreck Divers (1971) it has been suggested that I share with the Board my views on shipwreck artifact recovery.
There are four classes of shipwrecks: 1: war grave wrecks, 2: historically significant wrecks, 3: archaeologically significant wrecks, and 4: insignificant wrecks. Totally agree hands off the first three. As to class #4, collectable artifacts, i.e. portholes, gauges, valves, cage lamps, etc. are soon so overgrown to be totally unrecognizable to most recreational divers. If left "in situ" Mer Madre will eventually destroy them and/or they'll sink into the sea bed. Of artifacts recovered and placed in nautical museums, only 10 to 15 percent of them are ever displayed. The rest are stored out of sight, out of mind. Bottom line: recover artifacts where it's still legal to do so and don't where it's not. But please don't just toss them into your backyard "brass garden"; restore and display them.
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