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Earliest Deep Sea Navigation Tool Found

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I saw this article from BBC news just now talking about finding an astrolabe, the earliest form of deep sea navigation. The find is the earliest of its kind, dating back to about 1495-1502. The find was uncovered in the Indian Ocean on the wreck of a a ship named Esmeralda, and was part of a fleet lead by the Famous Vasco da Gama. Its always quite exciting to see discoveries like this, especially as maritime archaeology is such a surprisingly young field.


Full Article here:

Here is an example of a slightly later model of an Astrolabe, showing a little more how it might have looked, and how they were used, somewhat similarly to a sextant later on by measuring angles.


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15 hours ago, Fluffy Fishy said:

maritime archaeology is such a surprisingly young field.

They regularly recruit expert scuba divers and train them in underwater archeology rather than the other way around, what with requiring a crazy amount of underwater hours and safety issues, if any of you guys have the lifetimes of hours required by any chance.

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15 hours ago, Jean Ribault said:

Same era I think, Viking sunstones were apparently used.  Just saw a presentation on that, either on History channel or Science channel or the like.

Here is a recent article for reference https://www.sciencealert.com/researchers-put-a-viking-navigation-trick-using-crystals-to-the-ultimate-test

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IIRC the only "sunstone" proven to be present on a ship was from a 16th century Elizabethian navy ship ( someone correct if wrong ). But being present on a shipwreck doesn't mean a thing.

The wooden rose would work much better, especially given the "local noon" observation, if it came to be proven to be correct. Given daily record ( and possibly time track of sorts ) and adding a second rose wheel, then it comes to make more sense.

I like how the paper caricatures the viking hold a blade on one hand an a gemstone on the other. Of such images are myths born :)


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