Shipwrecked!: Diving for Hidden Time Capsules on the Ocean Floor

Astra. Oct. 2023. 144p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781662602047.
Gr 5 Up–From bronze statues and an early “computer” found in the Mediterranean Sea to intricate celadon pottery in the Shinan Islands of East Asia, and other significant finds from locations as far-flung as South Africa, South Carolina, and the Arctic Northwest Passage, uncovering wrecked ships has led to major historical revelations. Sandler has chosen specific shipwrecks to illustrate differing circumstances and parts of the world. The dense but intriguing text is broken up by photographs, period paintings, and spotlight boxes that highlight technological information about the ships, the development of tools that enabled their recovery, or unique cultural elements such as the haenyeo: women divers from Korea. As examples of marine archeology, these projects detail inventiveness and scientific knowledge, the historical background, and the diving expertise required to uncover, conserve, and remove artifacts from challenging circumstances for further study. The well-documented text takes information from adult books, some written by the archeologists themselves, and distills it for a younger audience. The ships and voyages had a variety of purposes. One of the most affecting chapters chronicles the fate of enslaved humans aboard the Sao Jose Paquete de Africa, a Portuguese vessel engaged in the slave trade. The Mary Rose and the Hunley were warships. The Erebus and the Terror were on a mission in ice-filled waters searching for the Northwest Passage, and the wrecks were uncovered with significant help from a person knowledgeable about Inuit oral history.
VERDICT Full of adventure and numerous explorations of the value of perseverance, this title will capture the attention of readers through a wealth of scientific and historical details.

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