The Titanic Archeological Site
The RMS Titanic shipwreck is considered as one of the biggest maritime disasters in history. It was a ship that carried more than two thousand passengers, and fifteen thousand of them perished in the wreck it was a passenger ship which sank in the North Atlantic Ocean. It was in the early hours of the morning when the ship hit an iceberg and later sank in the ocean. It was the largest ship at the time and succumbed to the accident in its maiden voyage. It was among the three Olympic class ship liners in operation and was operated by the white star line company. This was a prestigious ship and at the time carried some of the wealthiest people in the world. It was also transporting immigrants from Europe to the United States. The ship had highly advanced systems such as watertight compartments which were automatic. However, the ship lacked enough lifeboats to cater for all the passengers. When the accident occurred the ship’s lifeboats could only hold a one thousand, one hundred and seventy eight people which was slightly above half the entire population of passengers. The rest perished in the accident. It has stood more than a hundred years since the RMS Titanic sunk and this has now made the wreck an archeological site. The titanic now sits at the bottom of the Atlantic as a mass of steel carrying high levels of materials left behind. The archeological site is a representation of a history and culture of the eighteenth century. This is a report that explores the archeological site where the Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean more than a hundred years ago. It focuses on the 2004 expedition of the RMS Titanic (Weirich, 2004).
The 2004 expedition was headed by a marine explorer by the name of Robert Ballard. He is a professor of Oceanography and teaches at the University of Rhode Island. He is also the director of the Institute for archeology and Oceanography. He initiated the expedition which was twenty years after the discovery of the wreck in 1988. He was with the help of scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The expedition was carried out to investigate more about the ship and more specifically about the reason for the rapid deterioration that created the risk of the ship breaking down (Weirich, 2004).
The team spent eleven days collecting data and mapping the ship. They also carried out scientific analysis of the deterioration. The team was on board a research vessel belongs to NOAA called the Ronald H. Brown and stayed in the water form 30th of May until 9th of July. The team used the help of remotely operated vehicles to carry out a sophisticated and complex assessment as well as documentation of the Titanic. This was an advanced technology that was not available I the 1980s when the wreck was discovered. It was a look but do not touch mission that ensured the preservation of the ship. The mission also used high definition videos to capture the wreck as well as stereoscopic still images used to capture still images to provide an updated view of the wreck for proper assessment and analysis (Weirich, 2004).
At about two and a half miles below the sea, the wreck of the Titanic sits off the floor of the ocean. It is now a mass of steel covered with rusts. The massive archeological site that is the prestigious RMS titanic appears more as a memorial or an underwater museum. The ability to explore the site in an archeological sense is very important because it would help explore the microcosm of life characterized by a diversity of race, nationality, and class. It could be beneficial in answering crucial questions about the wreck. For many years the RMS Titanic sat at great depth where there was limited technology for surveying it. It is until recently that new methods of exploration have been developed and provide a chance of examining this massive piece of history (Delgado, 2001).
The availability of sonar technology enabled the development of safer ways of finding the wreck and exploring it with minimal hazards. The first images of the wreck were made available by the company Wools Hole Oceanographic Institution in the year 1985. This company used a mini-subs with the help of sonar technology to dive down to the wreck and take pictures of the massive wreck below the ocean. Since then there have been many attempts to dive deep and gather adequate information about the wreck. There has been an adequate attempt at gathering a considerable amount of information about the wreck because most attempts just get glimpses of the massive wreck. There is a great fear that the wreck would not stay intact for long because of rust and bacteria that would completely break down the wreck and lose the site (Delgado, 2001).
There is great difficulty especially in establishing a full survey of the ship. Other challenges include the fact that the wreck lay in international waters. This has made it very had especially legally to access the ship. There have also been other companies that have made trips to the ship and collected items form the ship which they have to place them on auctions and display in different parts of the world. Many archeologists claims that these artifacts have not been accurately recorded and has placed a great risk of loss of value of the archeological site as a result. The items collected have also been associated selective materials especially form the first class part of the ship, and many believe most of these artifacts have not been representative of the entirety of the ship. There is also no accurate records of the location of the ship where these artifacts were picked form. There is also the great risk of movement of some of the materials from their original positions. The other challenge is associated with damages caused by the submarines as they go through the ship in the exploration of the various artifacts within. Some had to latch on the rails of the ship which caused damage. There is also evidence of trash left behind by some of the submarines when they try to get back to the surface. They release weights to allow them to go upwards and some of these weight s have fallen on the ship causing damage on it. There are, therefore, many challenges to the exploration of the RMS Titanic. There is no governing body associated with overseeing the activities of explorers, and there is a great risk of loss of the wreck as a great archeological site (Jesilverman, 2014).
The main goal of the expedition was to explore the deterioration of the ship. The other goals included the mapping of the wreck and also the exploration of the archeological site. The deterioration of the ship was caused by small microbes that can feed on the iron used to build the ship. They would then cause the formation of rusticles which cause the high deterioration of the ship. Rusticles have occurred and have been observed by scientists for many years. However, little is known about them. NOAA has a high vested interest in aspects of culture associated with the Titanic. The NOAA is the national oceanic agency, and during the expedition, it was highly interested in the preservation and treatment of the Titanic. As great cultural resources, the Titanic shipwreck provided the opportunity of learning about the deterioration process. It also provided the NOAA the ability to build baseline information about the process of deterioration which could be used to assess other shipwrecks in other parts of the world. The expedition was also given the chance of broadcasting thanks to the help of the National Geographic channel (Weirich, 2004).
The 2004 expedition was effective in developing baseline data relating to the deterioration process of the shipwreck. Understanding the process was important because thigh high rate would cause great losses to the great archeological site. The NOAA was highly interested in the cultural aspect represented by the ship and thus initiated the expedition to offer more insight on the deterioration process and ways that could be used for better preservation of the shipwreck. The RMS has created great interest too many people around the world. There have been countless expeditions to try and know more about the ship. However, this has come at great risks of damage to the ship and loss of values of the archeological site as a result of tampering.
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