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Captain Kidd Ship Found

The wreckage of a pirate ship abandoned by Captain Kidd in the 17th century has been found by divers in shallow waters off the Dominican Republic, a research team claims.



The underwater archaeology team, from Indiana University, says they have found the remains of Quedagh Merchant, actively sought by treasure hunters for years.


Charles Beeker of IU said his team has been licensed to study the wreckage and convert the site into an underwater preserve for the public.


It is remarkable that the wreck has remained undiscovered all these years given its location, just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic in less than 10 feet of seawater.


"I've been on literally thousands of shipwrecks in my career," Beeker said. "This is one of the first sites I've been on where I haven't seen any looting. We've got a shipwreck in crystal clear, pristine water that's amazingly untouched. We want to keep it that way, so we made the announcement now to ensure the site's protection from looters."


The find is valuable because of what it could reveal about William Kidd and piracy in the Caribbean, said John Foster, California's state underwater archaeologist, who is participating in the research.


Historians differ on whether Kidd was actually a pirate or a privateer — someone who captured pirates. After his conviction of piracy and murder charges in a sensational London trial, he was left to hang over the River Thames for two years.


Historians write that Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, loaded with valuable satins and silks, gold, silver and other East Indian merchandise, but left the ship in the Caribbean as he sailed to New York on a less conspicuous sloop to clear his name of the criminal charges.


IU Anthropologist Geoffrey Conrad said the men Kidd entrusted with his ship reportedly looted it and then set it ablaze and adrift down the Rio Dulce. Conrad said the location of the wreckage and the formation and size of the canons, which had been used as ballast, are consistent with historical records of the ship. They also found pieces of several anchors under the cannons.


"All the evidence that we find underwater is consistent with what we know from historical documentation, which is extensive," Conrad said. "Through rigorous archeological investigations, we will conclusively prove that this is the Capt. Kidd shipwreck."


The IU team examined the shipwreck at the request of the Dominican Republic's Oficina Nacional De Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático.


"The site was initially discovered by a local prominent resident of Casa De Campo, who recognized the significance of the numerous cannons and requested the site be properly investigated," said ONPCS Technical Director Francis Soto. "So, I contacted IU."

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post #2 of 10 Old 12-13-2007
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That's fascinating news. I have read a fair bit about Kidd: he was framed, in my opinion.

I find it amazing that there are still wrecks out there to which an eight-year-old kid could snorkel. I think that despite all our technology and knowledge, the seas still hold amazing secrets. I recall the Antikythera Mechanism found in a wrecked Greek cargo ship from 2,100 years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antikyt...echanism)...we have no clue and no records that the Greeks could even conceive of astronomical calculators, never mind build accurate ones. What other ancient knowledge is still beneath the waves?
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The amazing thing is that it was found in only 10 feet of water.

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I had a dream, I was sailing, I was happy, I was even smiling. Then I looked down and saw that I was on a multi-hull and woke up suddenly in a cold sweat.
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post #4 of 10 Old 12-13-2007
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The oceans are good at keeping their secrets well hidden.

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post #5 of 10 Old 12-13-2007
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The oceans are good at keeping their secrets well hidden.
Yep... speaking of which.... if anyone happens to find a Blackberry at the bottom of Back Creek... call me

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Back Creek is a lot of water to be looking for a dead crackberry. And I doubt that yours is the only one down there...

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The amazing thing is that it was found in only 10 feet of water.
Actually, there's a War of 1812 wreck in 10 feet of water off Gibraltar Point on the Toronto Islands, but it's just a vague outline and it's buried in silt a lot of the time. It's a funny feeling going over it in calm weather, though.
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post #8 of 10 Old 12-13-2007
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awesome find! thanks for the post!

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post #9 of 10 Old 12-13-2007
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I love stories like this!

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post #10 of 10 Old 12-14-2007
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I read one of the books on him. if I remember correctly it seems that he was railroaded because he crossed some very influential sponsors.
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