Yeah Im all for this.
The wreck has been explored for the last 17 years. I know there may be a lot more to learn from her, but Is it perhaps not the correct thing to leave the wreck where she is in her declining years?
Im sorry to disagree, but I really don't understand why we should leave it down there. Im not saying a way to raise it, but if we had a way I would say go for it! soon(very soon)the Titanic will be gone forever. All we will have left is pictures and stories, and after a while even those will get distorted until there is nothing left except a dream. Im sorry if I sound a bit callus, but those people died nearly a century ago. All that is left is a ghost ship. Like in Pompeii all that is left is the memory, and if someone doesnt act quick, that will be Titanics ultimate fate. I for one don't want that to happen. It may sound stupid for me to say this, but I will probably cry when the Titanic falls back into the earth. I know it sounds like a silly dream, but I don't want to show my kid pictures and stories, I want to show them the real thing!!!
I realize this has always been a huge controversy & I can see points on both sides........but this is my thought and it's simiular to Jeremy's .....
out of respect to the survivors & their loved ones that were lost; as long as there are titanic survivors alive. I say leave it alone. It's a respect thing for them........and what I mean by survivor is one that was on the ship & was saved by the Crapathia.......not the generations of family members that will always be around.....
when there are no more living.....then I say it's a big huge part of history & let's save it as much as we can.......let's do something for it that couldn't be done in 1912.......Titanic will always live on - irregardless if we have a tangible proof of its existence but having been to one of the exhibits it is so much more powerful looking at those things.......while I do respect Mr. Robert Ballard's opinion - I have to say I disagree........but will forever be in his debt for finding "Titanic" in the first place.....
With all due respect, I'm not sure if you are old enough to be interested, but have you ever been to Dallas Texas, and stood on the 6th floor of the Texas School Book Depository? Have you ever been to the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn Michigan and studied the 1961 Lincoln Limo that JFK died in? Or how about the Alamo? Or maybe Fort Sumter in South Carolina?
I point these places out to you, so that it can be demonstrated that history CAN BE preserved if we, the people, are willing to foot both the financial and legal cost of doing so. You might say, "well, wouldn't the money be used better elsewhere"? Who decides that? Ourselves or the politicians?
Just recently, we've seen both the Hunley and the Monitor brought back to the light of day. Now, I know the Titanic would be a far-greater challenge in both terms of cost and motivation. So! Let's simplify this. What if we went down now and preserved what remains, without disturbing anything at all. If that happened, would it not be beyond the realm of speculation to presume that in the year 2050 or so, our future ET buffs would be visiting the site by high-tech underwater means that have yet to be invented? Thus they, like we today do when visiting the above-mentioned historical sites, could see for themselves, history preserved. Make sense?
The problem as I see it, is this: I don't think anyone could dispute calling Titanic a gravesite. That being the case, then where do you draw the line when it comes to preserving history? I did a minor in Archeology (actually, Egyptology) and it didn't trouble me in the least that there were artifacts from tombs being brought up and put in museums. Why then, does it bother me so much that things are being brought up from Titanic, and, worse yet, people talk about raising her? Is it because Titanic is more recent and we know so much about her and her passengers and crew? I'm not sure, I just know I don't like the idea of doing anything more than filming the wreck. I am 100% with Ballard, if even some rust flakes get brought up, I'd send them back.
I fully realize that by making that kind of decision, it means that all those artifacts and eventually the ship itself will be gone, but Titanic was popular before she had been discovered, and there were researchers then. We don't need artifacts to make it real.
To me, bringing artifacts or the ship up cheapens it. Just because we can do a thing doesn't mean we should do it. I don't know how many of you read Pelligrino's second book, but there was a chilling few paragraphs in it describing one of their artifact retrievals. They had found some oxygen rich debris area, where different things get preserved than in other areas. They found bones which they later determined were chicken or lamb, but it could just as easily have been human, because they also found a small child's article of clothing. Are we prepared to go this far? Are we prepared to disturb remains? If we do, we had damn well better have a good reason to do it, and I for one don't think that "so I can show it to our kids" is a good enough reason. Please don't interperet that as a flame, I respect your opinion, and I feel strongly about mine.
I think that all of the research that has been done has preserved Titanic in a far better way than any artifacts can. I find no honor in disturbing those souls.
Kathy, I concur with your statement about where to draw the line. For instance, some of the same people who are against salvage on the Titanic are currently involved in the salvage of the Monitor, where actual skeletons are aboard!
Kyrilia, on this topic I am somewhat of a hypocrite, because when I visited the Mariner's museum in Newport News Va. they had the propellor of the Monitor there. It wasn't on display, just in a tank out back undergoing some conservation treatment. But I admit to being awed looking at it. It didn't bother me as much as Titanic and I've been pondering why ever since. I do believe that the people working on the Hunley and Monitor are doing so for honerable reasons, not to make a buck. I don't believe people wanting to salvage Titanic are motivated by the same reasons. That is judging by what I've seen so far.
It all comes down to how you justify something. Can you justify raising a ship and disturbing the dead if there is something substantial to be learned from it historically? It is a very hard question to answer, and I think whoever answers it must certainly do some soul searching. But if there is a substantial amount that can be learned, and if the intent is not to make money, does it make it right? Does any situation make it acceptable to disturb the dead?
As I said, in my archeology studies, I didn't have a problem with the Egyptian tombs, but at what point does it become wrong and unethical?
I guess the first question to be answered is, is there something substantial to be learned from pulling artifacts and pieces of the Titanic up? And when I say "learned" I mean something beyond the tactile pleasure of touching history. I am referring to what can be added to our body of knowledge about Titanic?
The second question that we'd have to answer is the big ethical one about disturbing a gravesite for historical gain. It's really a tough one and likely to spark as much conflict as the Californian debate.
Maybe the Monitor didn't bother me as much becasue I don't know the people involved as much as those on Titanic. And maybe it was because I hoped there was a substantial amount to be gained in knowledge. But even that doesn't make it right.
As I mentioned before, just because we can do a thing (and in this case, we can't do it yet) doesn't mean we should. We need to be careful about out uses of technology. I personally feel that all that money used in raising the Monitor could have maybe better been used in developing smaller and more sophisticated robots to explore the wrecks. Having wireless ones would really give a lot of freedom and allow us to explore anywhere. How wonderful it would be to be able to explore anywhere in Titanic a 12 inch by 8 inch robot could squeeze. We'd certainly learn a LOT more than we've learned from any artifacts brought up.
Case in point...the prestigious editors of the National Geographic periodical openly voiced their opinion in regards to salvaging the TITANIC wrecksite on page 463 of the Oct. '87 release.
For those members unable to access this source, I am providing a caption script which accompanies the haunting image of a pair of shoes, resting where a body once had:
"Robert Ballard's hope that TITANIC should remain undisturbed was not realized. Last July, a French expedition began to retrieve artifacts from the wreck site. It's actions were roundly criticized as grave robbing - justifiably, for the line betwenn curiosity and acquistiveness seems to have been crossed." - THE EDITOR
Moving to the year 2002, the folks at National Geographic released (July 2002) spectacular coverage of the HUNLEY salvage. An image on page 98-99 should...blow your mind:
"Excavators remove his (Capt. Dixon) torso in blocks of sediment that encased his bones and personal belongings, revealed in a ghostly x-ray." Of which a caption states: "A pocketknife, buttons, and what may be a fastener for suspenders (below) stand out clearly in this image. Less distinct are the ribs and vertebrae visible in the background."
Who are the editors of Na't Geo. to roundly criticize RMST/IFEREMER...while on the otherhand condoning the excavation of the HUNLEY? If anything should be denoted a coffin or gravesite, then consider the crew cabin dimensions of the HUNLEY...4' heighth x 3 1/2' beam (width).
A sidenote to all this is also worthy of mention.
One of the conservators on the HUNLEY project also participated in the conservation of the artifacts salvaged from the TITANIC wrecksite.
The gentleman's name escapes me at this writing...but you may refer to the 7/02 NG.
(TITANIC is noted in italics within the HUNLEY article)
So then please tell me...where do we equate?
Where do we draw the line on the ocean's floor?
I remember one archeology class when a professor was talking about ethics and digs. It was right after they had discovered Titanic. The professor said that ususally there's an "unspoken" rule about recovering things where there are graves. The theory is that you need only recover from sites where at least 2 generations from the victims are deceased, or in the case if there are just a handful, permission from those individuals. He had gone on to say that there was nothing of historical benefit to scavenging Titanic, and that to do so would be to purely satisfy curiosity as well as tactile and monetary desires. He said there is nothing we can recover from the ship which would answer any questions etc. I agree.
He went on to equate that, if some company would start salvaging Titanic and make an exhibit, that it would be, in his opinion, akin to roadside theatrics. What he meant by that was how people rubberneck at auto accidents, a sort of morbid curiosity.
I think that may be a bit strong, the morbid curiosity, but yet I also remember talking to a retired Navy fellow who worked for the Newport News museum. He told me how it had been hotly debated amongst museums in this country whether to accept Titanic artifacts that had been salvaged. In the end, most of them all agreed to not have them as they thought it was ethically wrong. This was in the face of, it being a real crowd gatherer and money maker, but still, they wouldn't do it. They have a lovely Titanic exhibit that they use, and it does very well for drawing crowds. I applaud all museums who reached that difficult decision.
The Hunley may simply come under that "two generatins removed" law, though just the description above makes my skin crawl. I realize there is likely something to be gained by salvaging the Hunley, but it bothers me nonetheless.
This is a decision that has no middle ground, for regardless of which way it goes, it's going to leave some people unhappy.
Kathy...your Professor seems to be a bit biased in my eyes. Try telling Dave Shuttle and his family we learnd nothing from those *love letters* recovered by RMSTI. Who is this Professor to pass judgement upon the vast individual personalities whom perished on TITANIC? That they were incapable of correspondence? Imagine the content of those many letters *ENTOMED* aboard TITANIC's mailhold?
Of what prerequiste dare this Professor acclaim having foretelling knowledge of the abundance of slag in the composition of the rivets?
Let this *Professor* determine what fitting rests afront the lower bridge area (SEE: Marshcall's report), since our TITANIC expert, has to this day not unabatedly determined for himself.
Maybe this Professor ought to join the ET forum, and perhaps learn something for himself.
Personaly I do not think we will ever know of TITANIC'S final agonizing cries from her deathbed (BREAK-UP)...perhaps your Professor could lend us a hand...
"While the subject of Titanic salvage continues to be debated hotly, it should be looked at from a calm and realistic perspective. We can't "unring the bell." The wreck has been found, and salvage has been undertaken for nearly a decade. If the ship is to be considered a gravesite, it can be argued that is was sacrilegious even to want to find and look at it in the first place. Why is the Titanic's discovery and closeup, probing photograph to be applauded, while recovering an object, no matter how tiny or far out in the debris field, is somehow the most grievous of offenses?".
[Direct extract from article: "A Titanic task: confronting the controversy of salvaging artifacts." USA Today (Magazine) Nov. 1995 v124n2606p50(2)...AUTHORED BY KEN MARSCHALL]