For the first time, extraordinary photographs that researchers have extracted from the wreck of the 19th century steamer SS Central America, which sank off the US coast, have been published.
Many people who are interested in shipwrecks are very familiar with the name and history of the steamer SS Central America. The steamer sank in 1857 off the coast of South Carolina, and with it a huge treasure of gold and silver coins, among other things. Prospectors refer to the wreck as the “golden ship” and stress that along with the vessel to the bottom went the largest fortune ever lost at sea.
The history of the steamer SS Central America is inextricably linked with the gold rush which took place in California in the years 1848-1855. During the fateful voyage, when the ship was heading for New York, it was carrying over 9 tonnes of gold in its holds. Unfortunately, on the seventh day of the voyage, the steamer was hit by a powerful hurricane. As a result, the 85 metre long vessel sank and 425 out of 578 passengers died.
The entire cargo also went down with the steamer and almost immediately the legend of the ‘golden ship’ was born. Of course, no one ever forgot the SS Cental Amrica, but the wreck rested at an inaccessible depth of more than 2200 m. That is why the first expeditions only took place in the late 1980s. Between 1988 and 2014, a huge fortune was taken up from the ocean, which a century and a half earlier had been extracted with the sweat of their brow by Californian miners.
In addition to the unheard of wealth, many personal belongings that belonged to the passengers of the steamer also sank. A real miracle is the collection of photographs from the wreck of the SS Central America, which survived at the bottom of the Atlantic. Specialists managed to bring to the surface the photographs taken on glass plates and save them for posterity. They mainly present portraits of the passengers of the unlucky voyage, i.e. the miners and their families. We must admit that the photographs are both horrifying and beautiful.
There are two ships with iconic names. The Titanic, known as the ‘ship of dreams’ and the SS Cental America known as the ‘golden ship’. For me, the gold is just a distraction. The real treasures from this wreck are the glass tiles. There are still dozens of them on the wreck and I hope that one day they too will be saved – said British marine archaeologist Dr Sean Kingsley.
Among the photographs that archaeologists brought to the surface, there was one that particularly captivated the researchers. It is a photograph of a young woman whose beauty captivated the explorers. The young woman is about eighteen years old, wearing a lace dress with exposed shoulders and jewellery. Because of her beauty and charm, researchers have referred to her as the Mona Lisa of the deep.
The photographs appeared in Wreckwatch magazine, which is edited by Dr Sean Kingsley.
Photo by Paul Messier Studio for Columbus-America Discovery Group Inc
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