It’s incredible what we’ve found buried in the depths of the sea. Every shipwreck is exciting, but sometimes divers stumble across objects that have no business being near water in the first place. From 19th-century locomotives to ancient cities that previously lived only through legend, the ocean is a vast treasure chest filled with the gems of history. And with only between 5 and 7 percent of the sea floor charted, who knows what else it could be hiding.
10 A German Bomber Thought To Be Extinct
The Dornier 17 was a German bomber in World War II that took part in the Battle of Britain and the Blitz, despite production being stopped in the 1940s. Even though over 2,000 were built, none survived past 1952, when the last were cut up by the Finnish air force. However, a Dornier 17 that was shot down on August 26, 1940, by an RAF Defiant fighter plane was discovered by divers on Goodwin Sands, near Kent, UK in 2008.
The plane had been shot down by Pilot Officer Desmond Hughes and his gunner, Sergeant Fred Gash, during a raid to lure the fighters into the air. Described as being in “remarkable condition,” the Dornier 17 was raised from the sea in 2013 by the RAF museum in North London as part of a £600,000 project. The two-year restoration will take place at the RAF Museum’s site in Cosford, Shropshire, UK.
9 The Uluburun Shipwreck
The Uluburun shipwreck was found accidentally by a sponge diver in 1982 off the southwestern coast of Turkey. Dating from the 14th century B.C., the vessel is made of cedar and is one of the world’s oldest seagoing ships. Aboard the ship, among other cargo, were 10 tons of copper, Egyptian jewelry, ivory, the oldest intact glass ingots, and an Italian sword. The discovery has allowed historians to learn a lot more about trade in the Mediterranean. The diverse cargo on board shows that the Mediterranean was the site of a lot more trading than originally thought.
Such is the wealth of knowledge gained from the ship that Scientific Americanvoted it one of the 10 greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century. It was recovered over a period of 10 years in three-month-long excavations and was the deepest ship fully recovered at the time—it took a staggering 22,413 dives to bring up the entire Uluburun. Today, the Uluburun resides in the Bodrum Museum in southern Turkey.
8 Two Cars That Could Solve 40-Year-Old Cases
In September 2013, police divers testing new sonar equipment in an Oklahoma lake discovered two cars that had been underwater for 40 years. The police initially came to the conclusion that the cars had been stolen then simply dumped in the lake. When the cars were opened, a darker and more mysterious reason for their presence came to light—each car held three skeletons.
The bodies inside one of the cars, a 1969 Chevrolet Camaro, are believed to belong to three teenagers who were last seen over 40 years ago: Jimmy Allen Williams, 16, who owned the car, and his 18-year-old friends, Thomas Michael Rios and Leah Gail Johnson. They had supposedly been heading to a football game the night they disappeared.
The second car, a 1950s Chevrolet, is believed to have had the bodies of three missing adults who were also last seen over 40 years ago: Nora Duncan, 58, her friend Alvi Porter, 69, and their friend Cleburn Hammock. It will take a few years for forensic experts to identify the skeletons with complete certainty, but after 40 years, the find gives tantalizing hope for closure to the families of those missing.