Recovering pirates’ treasure may seem like a fantasy, but there are archaeologists and treasure hunters alike who have made it their life’s mission to locate lost shipwrecks, many of which contain gold and other riches as well as historical artifacts of great value. (Read about the most infamous pirates in history.)
It is estimated that there are more than 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks across the globe. Whether they were trade ships battered by hurricanes, passenger ships that sank while carrying aristocrats and their safe boxes, or battleships that went down with hundreds of sailors aboard, shipwrecks have always fascinated the public, and for good reason. They are time capsules containing a rich history – and often literal riches – just waiting to be discovered.
After consulting dozens of historical articles on shipwrecks and their discoveries from a variety of sources, 24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of 35 of the most famous shipwrecks ever found, from ancient Roman trading vessels to WWII battleships – and including the most famous shipwreck of all, the Titanic. (Here are 57 fascinating facts about the Titanic.)
While a few of the ships on this list ran aground, most are far beneath the ocean’s surface. Modern technologies such as underwater robots and sonar have revolutionized the ability of scientists, explorers, and salvagers to locate these underwater wrecks and their buried secrets. To date, billions of dollars worth of gold, silver, and other valuable artifacts have been recovered from shipwrecks, and considering that 95% of the ocean is still unexplored, there could be billions more worth of treasures lying on the ocean floor.
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