Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Maps of Shipwrecks and Sunken Treasure Available from Ball State University Libraries

Lost at Sea:  Maps of Shipwrecks Available from Ball State University Libraries

Today marks the 60th anniversary of the sinking of the luxury cruise ship, SS Andrea Doria.  The Italian ship was traveling on a nine-day cruise from Italy to New York City when it collided with another ocean liner off the coast of Nantucket, Massachusetts, on July 25, 1956, sinking the next day.  Over 1,600 passengers and crew were rescued, but 46 people died in one of the worst American maritime disasters.

The Ball State University Libraries’ GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) has a unique collection of maps of shipwrecks and other disasters at sea.  Marine Disasters of Cape Cod is a map (above, click to enlarge) published by Peter J. Closson identifying many of the shipwrecks around this area near Boston. 

According to the National Park Service, the 50 miles of sea and hidden sandbars off the coast between Chatham and Provincetown, Massachusetts, have been called “an ocean graveyard.”  In just the area between Truro and Wellfleet, “there have been more than 1,000 wrecks.”  One of the wrecks in particular shown on the above map is of the pirate ship of Samuel Bellamy, the Widah.

The GRMC also has maps of shipwrecks in the Florida Keys, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and Wilmington, North Carolina during the Civil War.  Dive charts of the Great Lakes also include locations of shipwrecks on Lake Erie, Lake Michigan, and Lake Ontario.  And National Geographic published Titanic: Reference Map of the World’s Most Famous Shipwreck in 2012 for its 100th anniversary and the map, Treasures of the World, Lost and Found, in 2001, which identifies sunken treasure around the world.

Maps from the GRMC may be circulated for two weeks or longer.  Special extensions are given to teachers wishing to use maps in the classroom for exhibits or lessons.

For more information, please contact the GRMC at 765-285-1097.

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