Taking artefacts

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Taking artefacts

Postby Jason » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:23 pm

petemes wrote:I have been into the library many many times and each time it produces little gems!!! Here I stumbled over some books uncovered by someones bubbles. 'Fundamental Law of the USSR' - how cool is that!!!!!


Regarding this Pete - Do you ever feel that such things as these (books and other artifacts) should be removed to the surface, be it via a private Diver or a Heritage/Archeological Diver, for both Display and Preservation
OR
Do you feel that such things should be left intact upon the Wreck even though time will evertually take its toll.
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Re: Lermontov Lust for Rust Oct 2009 tour

Postby binklebonk » Tue Nov 10, 2009 10:47 pm

Image



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Re: Lermontov Lust for Rust Oct 2009 tour

Postby petemes » Tue Nov 10, 2009 11:38 pm

Hi Jas,

Good to hear from you. Wow, I think someone just threw a spark in a tinder box!!!! This debate has been going on for decades. And a very interesting topic none the less. This is why my focus is on taking pictures of wrecks, because every time I dive on her there is always change. Nothing is ever the same again each time I dive on the wreck. Stairwells fall, doors break off, book shelves dissolve with masses of bubbles hitting them. etc etc.

We cant have it all, pristine wrecks with everything on it and also historical artifacts for people in the future to enjoy. if you want a wreck with loads of artifacts on it then they all run the risk of eventually dissolving to the ground. Everything will eventually rust away. If this happens then noone will ever see the artifacts again. Then if you have everyone taking artifacts then you run the same result! So I guess there is only a certain amount of time till there is nothing left underwater.

Normally the people who shout the loudest about taking stuff off wrecks are the worst culprits but I do think that more thought should be done into actually coming up with a solution. I remember some person shouting their mouth off at me taking stuff off the lermi where in actual fact they were profiteering from taking off artifacts and selling them out of their premises! So I am not sure. Everyone has their own motives for shouting the loudest. Very seldom is it for the actual good of mankind and unfortunately most of the time for personal profit or gain.

Take for example the dive which has become a landmark dive on the Lermi - 'The Dolls" dive, which came about by articles being written and pictures being taken about 'Chucky the Doll" now every person who comes on our trips wants to come and see this amazing sight. If everyone took a doll then it will all be gone and there would be no more "Dolls dive"

here is another angle too....

We got the bell off the Port Kembla in 2006 and recently I took it in to my daughters school to talk to them about WWI and WWII NZ history. Now this was a really tactile prop I had and something right from that period of time that they could actually touch! Cant beat an actual historical artifact can you? We have been debating where it should rest and the main reason why it didnt end up in the Auckland maritime Museum was because they couldnt confirm that it would be on permanent display ! So it would sit in the back in some box for 20 odd years because it didnt match the fenqushway of other displays. So it looks like it might end up in the Dargaville museum - that way it will be permanently displayed for all to enjoy. Now how many people will ever see that bell sitting on the bottom on your lifetime? Bugger all!

In the Lermi, Books are there by the shelf load, but each time a set of bubbles hits the shelves books get dislodged and fall apart as they make their way to the lower parts of the lobby. Should we stop all open circuit divers completely from penetrating the wreck for fear of destroying these areas for ever? What about the bubble pockets which leed to accelerated oxidization of the metal?

So to answer your question - I dont know what the answer is.

This is a great discussion but unfortunately has the same outcome - sometimes there just isnt an easy answer!

For me personally, I love a little but of porcelain. I dont know why but I just do. I have a select few pieces with the morflot insignia on it. I love them and really enjoy them. Now I know where there are stacks and stacks of cups and saucers in the wreck. Do I take it all? nope! Do I tell everyone where they are? nope! Do I know that one day they will all be gone? Yip!

But it is really good now that people choose not to take stuff off the wreck just because they dont want to.

Lets focus now on people who take crays and scallops and shoot fish!!!!!!! They are living creatures and have families!! Just kidding....

Pete






Vampire Squid wrote:
petemes wrote:I have been into the library many many times and each time it produces little gems!!! Here I stumbled over some books uncovered by someones bubbles. 'Fundamental Law of the USSR' - how cool is that!!!!!


Regarding this Pete - Do you ever feel that such things as these (books and other artifacts) should be removed to the surface, be it via a private Diver or a Heritage/Archeological Diver, for both Display and Preservation
OR
Do you feel that such things should be left intact upon the Wreck even though time will evertually take its toll.
:?:
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Re: Lermontov Lust for Rust Oct 2009 tour

Postby justsimon » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:55 am

We got the bell off the Port Kembla in 2006 and recently I took it in to my daughters school to talk to them about WWI and WWII NZ history. Now this was a really tactile prop I had and something right from that period of time that they could actually touch! Cant beat an actual historical artifact can you?


Seriously cool, what a great thing to do. :D
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Re: Lermontov Lust for Rust Oct 2009 tour

Postby petemes » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:34 am

Thanks Rach,

This is probably one of the hottest discussion points in wreck diving and has been going on for decades. Everyone is right, noone is wrong, each point is 100% valid yet nothing has been resolved.

I guess its like the discussion about "should we have ugly tarmac roads cutting into our beautiful countryside? - but I dont want to travel from Auckland via wellington to get to Tauranga!!!

Looking forward to seeing what little gems come up!!

Pete

DiveDiva wrote:MOD: Discussion on the uplifting of artefacts has been moved to Wreck Diving. http://www.scubadive.net.nz/bb3/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=4073 :D
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby binklebonk » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:13 am

Yeah all fair points Pete, Personally I only find "looting" objectionable when the items are in a very easily accessible place, have been there for ages and as such are more or less tacitly agreed on that they should stay there as part of the "experience" of the wreck.

The less travelled parts that you explore are not subject to this IMHO. How many people know what is in the darkest areas? How many will go there? Sweet FA I would imagine.

What really gets me riled as far as this discussion is concerned are the acts of self interested vandals such as that chump who knicked off with the Hammer and Sickle off the funnel or the moron who broke up large parts and dredged the Lastingham.
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby ChuckyBob » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:02 pm

I guess there are several ways to look at it.

1st the moral choice. Problem here is that people have different morals than others.
2nd is the legal side of things.
Who owns the items on a wreck? Are loose items different from fittings?

Lets take the example of the bell recently removed from the engine room of the Lermi.

From what I recall of the articles, posts and letters to the editor that I have read it was removed with tools. So from that we can assume it was a fitted item.

How does this sit morally with people? Its hardly a great artefact of history to be shown off, but i wonder how many divers have swam past the bell over the years and have rung it.
And what about legally ? Who owns it if anyone? Lloyd's? Would they care?

I think people always have and always remove items. There is no real reason to take something off of a wreck like the Waikato or tui. But I guess there is a little more incentive to take something from say the Lermi or even the Lastingham.
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby petemes » Wed Nov 11, 2009 7:56 pm

ChuckyBob wrote:From what I recall of the articles, posts and letters to the editor that I have read it was removed with tools. So from that we can assume it was a fitted item.

How does this sit morally with people? Its hardly a great artefact of history to be shown off, but i wonder how many divers have swam past the bell over the years and have rung it.


Ahhh, I would have thought you cant get any better artifact than a bell off a wreck, Greg. The only reason why it was still there was the fact that it has never been seen before. I will put money on it (just a joke or someone will report me to the gambling society again) that if someone else saw it before us it wouldnt be making its way to a museum, thats for sure. Judging by where it was lying i think that I can quite honestly say that zero people have ever seen this bell let alone rung it. But I might be mistaken. But a nice thought though. Something that I just thought of out of interest how many artifacts from the Lermontov are displayed in the Museum? I dont think that there is any.


And what about legally ? Who owns it if anyone? Lloyd's? Would they care?

I think people always have and always remove items. There is no real reason to take something off of a wreck like the Waikato or tui. But I guess there is a little more incentive to take something from say the Lermi or even the Lastingham.


Everyone cares about everything but will they want to try and prosecute someone for taking off a bottle of vodka or can of 4X? Not so. Now if you took a bar of gold off the Niag they would be certainly interested in that! . I have been in contact with the receiver of wrecks in Ozzi about the Kembla bell seeing that the Kembla was an Ozzi ship. They were particularly impressed that it was going to a museum. Cant touch anything off historic wrecks like the Lastingham (pre 1900). Its illegal to remove artifacts off these wrecks. Thats the law as it stands at the moment.

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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby petemes » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:12 pm

Pete wrote:I guess you could look at it both ways... but will you ever get a great pic of a row of dolls in the dolls room on the lermantov again? Thats where a doll on the mantlepiece at home has decimated the character of a room that was legendary.


Hi Pete, you are so right.

This is a picture I took in 2005

Image

Now these dolls have gone.

Now this is what awaits.

Image

Please excuse the quality of the images.

But I guess its like our planet. Things are changing every day. Things are changing naturally, gradually reducing everything to dust, but there is also the human element that accelerates things. I tend to focus on taking pictures now to capture the wreck at that time of its life.

Looking forward to the next trip.


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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby DiveDiva » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:22 pm

It is an interesting debate - thanks Jase!

My feeling is that nothing should be removed unless:

- It is being returned to the original owner
- It poses some kind of safety risk by being left
- Like the Lermi bell, it is a quality artefact, which is likely to remain unseen for a majority of people

And with the latter, I feel that a proviso should be the item remains the property of the owner, a maritime museum or owned by New Zealand - not an individual looking to profiteer. Not suggesting this is you Pete!

It's because many divers just take something that there will be nothing to see on the Lermi by the time I get down there. Maybe it's not worth bothering.

My opinion is that it should be illegal to take anything off a wreck, unless you have special permission from the owner or the Government.
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby petemes » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:41 pm

DiveDiva wrote:It is an interesting debate - thanks Jase!!!

My feeling is that nothing should be removed unless:

- It is being returned to the original owner
- It poses some kind of safety risk by being left
- Like the Lermi bell, it is a quality artefact, which is likely to remain unseen for a majority of people

And with the latter, I feel that a proviso should be the item remains the property of a maritime museum or owned by New Zealand - not an individual looking to profiteer. Not suggesting this is you Pete!

It's because many divers just take something that there will be nothing to see on the Lermi by the time I get down there. Maybe it's not worth bothering.

My opinion is that it should be illegal to take anything off a wreck, unless you have special permission from the owner or the Government.


really good comments Rach,

I really do agree with everything that has been said. And I think that this is what is going to happen globally. Nothing gets removed unless specific permission is gotten. etc etc. I also want to mention that I didnt actually recover the bell off the Lermontov, nor find it for that matter. It was found and removed from the wreck by an Australian on one of my trips. It has to be said that it was a great find. I guess the only reason why it is still in NZ was for the fact that we spoke about the history that is in the artifact and that it should stay in NZ. This was unanimously decided. You should see it. It still has oily stains on the rope where black oily Russian hands used to ring it. It truly is a great artifact.

I guess it all has to start somewhere so....... as of now, all charters that are under the direction and supervision of myself heading to the Lermi will have a strictly "no take policy". If we find another major artifact it will be coordinated through the right channels.

I hope that other operators will follow suit in the future.

Pete
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby DiveDiva » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:46 pm

Well said Pete and I really hope this becomes the norm. It would be even better if it was practiced out of mutual respect and regard for these items (and their history), rather than requiring a law change.

Here's hopin' :)
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby ChuckyBob » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:44 pm

DiveDiva wrote:- Like the Lermi bell, it is a quality artefact, which is likely to remain unseen for a majority of people


Could you please define and who is the judge of a "quality artefact" & "majority of people?"

The majority of people dont dive.
The majority of divers will never dive the Lermi.
The majority of people who dive the Lermi dont do any substantial penetration.

So why should it be OK to take a bell that is bolted down but not OK to take a doll?

I guess at the end of it all the only thing that help keep items in wrecks are strict laws that will ultimately be enforced by fellow divers. But I guess thats not going to stop those with lower morals than others.

Out of interest where is the bell currently being displayed?
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby Jason » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:30 pm

Thankyou kindly Pete for you posts.
Yes this is a hot debate and it has been going on over here in Oz for quite some time now.
At first I found it amusing on DiveOz seeing other Divers slang-off and attack other divers (I even joined in but got banned mostly). But once I got to know these divers, some of which have the quality that you possess, I found it embarressing to read these Divers fight and sqwark like Seagulls over a soggy chip.

(also - would you ((and Rachel)) feel ok about me posting a reference to this topic and your trip upon Dive Oz ((if I can?)) as I feel that it will help...help in that it might move things forward a bit towards a 2nd Stage and hopefully there is a 3rd Stage which might be the '3rd time lucky' in regards to being the 'answer'. :?: )
...if not, thats ok.

I agree with a lot of what you have said Pete, as well as what everyone else has said.
There is no 'answer' (currently) - but there must be one out there.
I'm gonna brainstorm as many points as I can come up with and then post again my results which include what has been said here.
I think Diving must soon find a 'direction' and stick to it. No more running to the Political Industry to sort things out - for Politics, in the end, is only concerned with looking after the Political Industry. For example - If Museums like Auckland, Sydney, etc won't/can't guarrantee to display Artifacts found upon Wrecks, then I guess it is up to the Dive Industry 'as a whole' to organise its own Museums to display its future enterprise...as taken from the past. Such a direction is of course 'the harder path' but isn't the harder path usually the answer that is needed?
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Re: Taking artefacts

Postby DiveDiva » Thu Nov 12, 2009 7:44 am

Yeah no worries Jase.

By People I of course meant like us on this forum (divers and perhaps those with an interest in such items). A ship's bell is hugely significant and often used to identify the wreck in the first place. In this instance it was too hidden to be appreciated so I have no beef with someone taking it with the aim of displaying it like a museum or even in picton somewhere - which I understand was always pete's intention. I don't advocate the taking of dolls or china or anything else from the Lermie - just photos and hopefully this will become common practice soon.
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