Friday, December 23, 2005


Beneath The Seven Seas Launched


Radio Cayman
December 22, 2005

As of this week, Cayman residents will be able to enjoy the new Beneath the Seven Seas book, which is billed as the most exciting book ever published on marine exploration and seafaring history. It will be unveiled during a book-signing at Hobbies and Books, Grand Harbour this evening, 22 December, between 6:00 and 8:00pm.

The new publication, highlighting underwater archaeological adventures with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), has been released by Thames and Hudson. The general editor is INA founder Dr. George Bass, considered the father of underwater archaeology. The most significant local contributor is Dr. Peggy Leshikar-Denton, an INA Research Associate, who has been based in the Cayman Islands for many years, affiliated with the Maritime Heritage Trail Partners and the National Museum. She has participated in INA marine research projects around the world. A former student of Dr. Bass, she will be signing the books on Thursday evening. Other local contributors are photographers Lennon Christian, Courtney Platt, and Dennis Leshikar-Denton, who will also be available to sign the books.

The most prominently-placed local photograph appears on the title page, and features the anchor of the Cayman Islands shipwreck Glamis, which was built in Scotland in 1876, and was lost in East End in 1913. This photo was taken by marine biologist Dr. Alexander Mustard, who is a regular visitor to the Cayman Islands.

Reflecting on her adventures, Dr. Leshikar-Denton said that actual research work and discoveries of historical moments and stories are the greatest rewards. For instance, she relates that she was privileged to work on one of the world's oldest known shipwrecks.

Beneath the Seven Seas takes the reader on an across-the-globe adventure, with first-hand exploration reports and accounts of sunken cities, as well as some of the greatest shipwrecks in the world, including in the waters around the Cayman Islands and neighbouring countries.

The content includes accounts of Jamaica's infamous city of Port Royal, which was sunk by an earthquake and is today regarded as the best example of submerged archaeology. East End's Wreck of the Ten Sails, with information and photographs from the local contributors, is featured and the book also describes a royal ship which sank over 3,300 years ago. Articles by Robert Ballard, who discovered the wreckage of the Titanic are also included.

The human side of shipwrecks is also depicted, an aspect all too familiar to many residents in light of local lives lost during Cayman's seafaring era. Two examples drawn from across the globe describe the loss of a returning ship within sight of relatives and friends on the shores of Portugal in 1606, as well as the dark fate of a ship's crew lost off Kenya some years later.

With featured sections covering the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean and the Mediterranean to the Red Sea, as well as the Indian Ocean, the marine archaeologists vividly describe shipwrecks that reveal details of ancient battles, priceless items of royalty and the more humdrum implements of normal life such as cutlery and wine bottles.

The new first-edition hardcover book is available at both Hobbies and Books locations, as well as both Book Nook stores, the Cayman Islands National Museum, and Ocean Frontiers. It costs CI$40.


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