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Shipwrecks: Underwater Echoes of the Past

“Where are your monuments, your battles, martyrs?

Where is your tribal memory? Sirs,

in that grey vault. The sea. The sea

has locked them up. The sea is History.”

Derek Walcott, The Sea is History, 2007

Shipwrecks are enigmatic spaces resting deep under the ocean waves on the seabed, scattered remnants of history covered in silt, sand, mud, seaweed and barnacles. Many are sacred sites of loss; all are echoes of the past.

Mapping these shipwrecks as a learning resource for global histories is a long-term project for us. Last week we published a map from prehistory to 1700, with links to four stories previously published on The Earth Museum. Discover them again by taking a journey into our World of Stories and search for Maritime Silk Road, Sappho and Cinnamon, Ingredients of Empire and Designing the Vessels of Empire.