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Published: 14-Feb-12 13:05:00
Source: Fox News
Author: Anna Ridley
Related: 10-Apr-10 23:11:09
Two scuba divers have discovered what is thought to be a 200-year-old shipwreck off the coast of Rhode Island in the U.S during a recent wreck diving expedition. U.S Navy researchers are hoping that the wreck is the USS Revenge that sunk in January 1811.
Two scuba diving enthusiasts have found what they believe to be a 200-year-old shipwreck in the waters off Rhode Island in the United States.
The vessel is though to be the USS Revenge and was discovered one mile off the coast of the island in New England during a wreck diving excursion.
Researchers from the U.S Navy are keen to confirm the identity of the ship and last week they headed to the site with the two divers, Charlie Buffum and Craig Harger, to survey the wreck using high-tech sensor equipment in order to map the site.
This could lead to eventually retrieving artefacts from the ship which will highlight what happened to the USS Revenge and an episode in the life of one of the greatest U.S. naval officers, Oliver Hazard Perry.
The 25-year-old was the commander of the ship when it got into trouble on the way to Connecticut from Rhode Island on a stormy day in January 1811. The cargo and passengers were safely transferred to other boats but the ship began to drift and eventually sank.
Perry is well known as the Hero of Lake Erie after he defeated the British navy in the War of 1812 but after the incident with the USS Revenge his career could have been over. Though he was exonerated from any responsibility he was posted to the Great Lakes following the incident.
David Skaggs, a professor at Bowling Green State University and the author of a book about Perry, explained: "He was a rising star. But then his ship runs aground. Running a ship aground is not a helpful thing for your career."
The ship is said to have been hidden for so many years from divers who have taken scuba diving trips to the area in search of the vessel because it was covered by the treacherous reef. Rhode Island is one of the most popular scuba diving destinations in the region for advanced divers due to its rough waters and collection of diving sites.
The two scuba divers first discovered the ship five years during a wreck diving trip with a metal detector. After calculating where the USS Revenge was likely to be resting they took two scuba diving trips to the site but left empty handed. On the third trip, the divers came across a canon thought to have originated from the ship.
They kept the ship’s whereabouts to themselves for five years as they searched for additional artefacts.
The Navy say they have to see evidence that the shipwreck’s remains are confirmed as those belonging to the USS Revenge before they can accept the divers’ theory and further excursions are planned to the site to assess the findings.
George Schwarz, an underwater archaeologist with the U.S. Navy's History and Heritage Command, said: "We were of course interested immediately when we heard.
"If it is the USS Revenge, then it's 200 years old and it's an incredibly important part of American history."
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