Putting an End to an Argument


Jessie M.

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Jan 13, 2019
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Now I know this is probably a really stupid idea... But I just can't seem to shake it.
As I'd imagine most of us know, no physical bodies remain in the wreck site and it has caused a bit of debate between people when it comes to the wreck itself (Viewing the wreck as a Gravesite or as a Archeological find due to there not being any actual bodies). I think the wreck should be considered a Gravesite in case any of you were wondering.

However... Something my Bio teacher told my class several years back has me thinking. They told us that "Matter can never be destroyed, only changed" or something like that. Like burning some paper or something. The paper doesn't just vanish, it becomes ash.

So what if we were to apply that rule to the victims that came to rest on the ocean floor? Obviously the animals made pretty quick work of the soft tissue, but the bones would have remained for a little while longer. Now, eventually it was the pressure that did the bones in, right? Slowly eroding them until nothing was left?
But... Unless my Bio teacher was lying through their teeth, that shouldn't be possible. The bones didn't just disappear, they would have had to be transformed into some sort alternate matter.

Now like I said before, this is probably both a really stupid idea and a far reach... but given what I said above would it not be possible for there to be things like trace amounts of calcium hidden amongst the sand around the wreck? If there is, wouldn't that also put the whole Gravesite vs Archeological Find argument to rest?

Any thoughts, forum?
 
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Nov 14, 2005
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It's just a matter of time. A lot of archeologial sites are also graveyards. I just watched a documentary where they were digging up a graveyard in England to examine bodies from the "Black Death" era. It was considered an archeolocial site. I didn't hear of any controversies over it. Sometime in the future I believe they will go thru the Titanic site and and get everything they can. Its just a matter of how soon is too soon.
 

Kyle Naber

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I don't think of the wreck as a gravesite. Most people died on the surface. Its hard to treat it as such, however, because there's no solid object or formation which the wreck often serves as.
 

Harland Duzen

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Rather grisly fact here, but any bodies that made it to the ocean floor would have been crushed and disintegrated due to the water pressure and aquatic life as mentioned would eat any other remains.

That being said, other things like leather* shoes and bits of clothing or luggage would remain and lie in place where the body originally was as a indicator (like the Pompeii casts or Atomic Bomb shadows which are equally poignant and tragic).

*As the leather clothing was bleached, microorganisms can't eat it which is why leather items from the wreck are so preserved.
 

Rob Lawes

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What your Bio teacher said was perfectly true. Matter can not be created or destroyed just converted from one form to another.

Take a bit of wood. When you heat it using a match you excite the oxygen molecules in the wood. As they get more energy from the heat they snap together with the carbon molecules. This joining gives off the residual energy in the form of heat and light. This heat causes adjacent molecules to gain energy and more reactions occur. More oxygen is drawn in from the air and more oxygen / carbon molecules are given off releasing more energy. We see this with the naked eye as fire and smoke.

All the matter that was once the wood has been given off as heat, light, carbon dioxide, smoke particles and a few lumps of chared remains. The sum total of which adds up to the initial amount of matter.

Simple. :)

Oh, and as long as there was a single body within the hull, it's a grave and the only thing we should take from it and bring to the surface are pictures.
 
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Aaron_2016

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The wreck is a shine to the dead and a time capsule which marks their final presence in this world. Even something as simple as a drinking glass once held my a victim which was placed inside a cupboard before they vacated their room in a hurry, or some plates that were stacked by a steward who took pride in his work and was happy to serve on the great liner and then perished soon after he completed that duty. There are traces of their presence all over the ship.



wreck1.png


wreck2.png


wreck3.png


wreck4.png



The ship is filled with traces of their lives and their final moments aboard the Titanic.


.
 
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Kyle Naber

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Oh, and as long as there was a single body within the hull, it's a grave and the only thing we should take from it and bring to the surface are pictures.

One of Eva Hart’s friends said that she always was opposed to the bringing up of artifacts and said it was a form of grave-robbery. The friend (I forget his name, this info was on the Titanic Channel) urged her to see the importance of the recovery of certain things. It wasn’t until she was in her last years she said something along the lines of “you know what, (name) I think you’re right. It’s all the future generations will get to experience of the ship. It’s all they’ll have.” I know it’s a touchy topic, but these artifacts are usually handled respectfully and are used to educate. I tend to think it’s a more valueable experience to make visual contact with a piece of Titanic rather than reading about it.
 

Kyle Naber

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The majority of us won't die in graveyards, but that's where we'll end up.

Someone said it :D I was thinking the same thing right as I posted it. The surface possibly is technically the gravesite and the wreck is the graveyard??
 
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B-rad

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There are creatures and organisms that extract calcium from all animals that fall to the sea floor. (They can extract iron from a ship, they can do the same to bones.) Plus the sea floor is very acidic and full of bio chemicals that in and of themselves create an environment not suitable for bio or none bio matter that has not, or has not been, adapted to the environment.

As a lover of history, science and archeoglogy I consider the wreck nothing more than a wreck Of historic significance, not a grave site. Like King Tut. The tomb is the ship. The artifacts are like Titanics. I feel so much closer to the ship its people and understanding of it by viewing the actual artifacts in person while still having a weird detachment I can't explain. When looking at Egyptian artifacts I feel closer also but still can't fully comprehend what I'm seeing.

That being said, like king tut's tomb, the ship is of archeological relavence itself and should not be damaged, defaced, or unkept. The respect to the artifacts should extend to the wreck and as long as it is standing nothing should be taken off it. As far as from it, as long as it can be 100% guarantee to not cause damage (taking a hat hanging off a bed post for example) and it has already detached itself, than I'm not against, but then your opening yourself up to flawed personal assessments. Its hard to be 100% sure of anything when working under water especially 2 1/2 miles down.
I feel that a lot of people, base their feelings(as said above) on the amount of time. Titanic is still relatively recent and we understand the technology and understand the culture. Go back a couple of decades to the civil war in the US and people treat that as the wild west disconnected with current times.
 
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Titanic is very lucky to have been protected from looting or damages. I'm living in Province of Quebec, in the outskirts of Montreal City, few km from St-Lawrence River where the Empress of Ireland had sunk in 1914, and since few years the Canadian Government had stopped protecting the wreck and even the lifebuoy upon the water with a sign saying that the Empress' wreck is at the bottom right there and that the site is protected by federal Regulations is gone ! Why ? Because they don't have anymore money for that !! So each and everyone is free to go down, enter the wreck and take whatever he likes for his little Christmas, if you know what I mean ! It's a real shame ! And much more worrisome is the fact that the Empress of Ireland is only at 42 Meter from the surface, that is to say she is very easy to reach for an experimented diver who could get very rich if he would sell it on Amazone or Ebay ! At least the Titanic is protected from it by the fact that she is almost 2 km at the bottom and no diver can get there by himself, unlike the Empress of Ireland !
 
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Jan 23, 2019
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Graveyards, along with other sites of personal and/or private significance, are of great importance to archaeology. We know so much about the past because we were willing to violate that boundary. Just ask the Egyptian kings. That being said, respect for the dead is also very important. We can't stomp all over everything not only because it'll destroy data but because it's a basic part of human empathy.

I don't see much value in salvaging Titanic, though. I'd wager she's one of the most if not the most well-documented artifact in all of human history. I don't think pulling up a steel plate or a teacup is going to contribute greatly to our understanding of the events. We know it struck the iceberg, we know to a fairly high degree of accuracy where the damage was, we know how long it took to sink, we know a lot about the personal experiences during those hours, we know most of the wheres and whens. In this case, I think the work has been done and now it really is just pointless object collection. So my position on Titanic is photographs only at this point.
 
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B-rad

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What I would like is true real life VR. Send robots down to picture every bit of the ship, debris field, insides etc, so those of us who will never make it down can visit the wreck using true footage and update every 5 years or so, unless we can do on spot in real life. Easier said the done, but I would be okay with no more artifacts if I could explore the wreck. Otherwise I love being close to something orientated. My piece of coal is by far one of the greatest things I've ever owned.
 
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SmileyGirl

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I don’t think loads of people should be able to go down to the wreck anymore but I agree a live VR thing should be done for us to watch in our homes. That would be awesome!
 

Mike Spooner

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Seeing the rate of Titanic wreck deterioration she will not be graveyards for not much longer, to the point graveyards on land are to last a lot longer! Those one buried in Halifax Canada will out last the wreck by years!
 
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This picture is from the wreck of the Bismarck. The Bismarks wreck is 4800 meters deep, a whole kilometer deeper than the wreck of the Titanic. There's already lots of pictured evidence of bodies near the wrecksite, and that's just what we've seen. I remember watching a Titanic documentary with Robert Ballard called "Return To Titanic" done by nat geo I believe, and being affected when they ran into a haunting reminder: the undeniable remains of a crew member in the debris field. The picture has become well known more recently and I believe Aaron 2016 shared it in one of his previous post in this thread. Titanic IS a gravesite, it's the only headstone most of her victims will ever have. Only 328 (I believe) bodies were recovered which means 1200 went down with the ship, this is their monument, their tomb. Now with that being said, under some circumstances I am ok with salvage as long as they in no way disturb or disrespect the site.
 

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Eric Paddon

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I've been away from this board for the better part of a decade now. The reason I walked away was because it was the culmination of too many years of contentious and I will confess, very bitter and passionate arguments I had with people in other forums and some perhaps who are still here on the subject of artifact recovery and preservation. There is an old saying that time heals wounds and I like to think after all these years, I can finally perhaps discuss this subject with a lot more dispassion than was the case in years past. Part of the reason (the other is because I'm older and been through traumas in my life that were unthinkable the last time I was here that can also have a bit of a sobering effect when I then look back through the archives at things I wrote in the long-ago past) is because I feel as if the greatest dream I had in the time before the wreck was found (yes, I am old enough to remember what it was like before that) was to be able to see with my own eyes pieces of this important ship in history brought back to the world of the living as a legacy for future generations to see after what's left of the wreck disappears forever. I was able to achieve that dream when I visited exhibitions in Atlantic City and Chicago and got to see the "Big Piece" with my own eyes and which for me is something that when you see it in person you really do appreciate better the size and immensity of the ship itself in ways that no photograph can ever convey. For me, this is the intangible benefit to history that transcends the argument over whether we "learn" about history from the recovery of these wrecks. The artifact as an artifact may not tell us much in the clinical sense but in the intangible way, when it is seen in three dimensions by the human eye, it allows for a bonding with the event that is unique and important, and IMO absolutely necessary for the vast majority of us who will never be able to go down in a submersible to the wreck site. Can we do a lot with pictures and robot cameras? Yes, but no matter how great they get they are not a substitute for what the multi-dimensional perspective of what the human eye can bring when you are present in the same place as those recovered artifacts. That's why when I saw those artifacts it was the same experience for me as I also would feel years later when I visited the 9/11 Museum and saw the recovered artifacts from Ground Zero that are carefully preserved, whether it be a smashed firetruck or the only surviving piece of the North Tower communications mast. We *need* IMO these kind of experiences to save and preserve and pass along. For me, the museum setting is the one that reaches the common man best.

As for the situation now, I would like to think and hope that after all these decades we are at a point where we can accept the reality of what the recovery expeditions have brought to us and at the same time allow perhaps for a reasonable consensus that the primary duty to history has perhaps been fulfilled and that there is no pressing need to add more to what has been saved for us and future generations. I would probably need to see something truly special and one of a kind emerge in the debris field to justify picking something new up at this stage (in the sense of justifying the cost of a new expedition). We are not likely to see that after the numerous recovery expeditions that have taken place.
 
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