The Most Important Things That Were Just Pulled Out of the Sea

Including the world’s first computer, which dates back to the first century B.C.E.
The Most Important Things That Were Just Pulled Out of the Sea

Artifacts are found in all kinds of places: up in mountains, under parking lots, weirdly often in random people’s attics. But eventually, the sea takes everything, including some of the most important objects in a culture’s history — if it isn’t thrown in there first.

The First Computer

The exploration of a shipwreck from the first century B.C.E. near the island of Antikythera unearthed (or rather, unwatered) a bunch of cool shit, but the coolest of the shit is what’s now known as the Antikythera mechanism. It’s basically the world’s first computer, built to calculate and display astronomical information, possibly for the purpose of tracking the days and months. Nothing like it existed for the next thousand years, so it must have really annoyed whoever built it.

The Doves Typeface

Around 1900, T.J. Cobden-Sanderson decided to embrace the destiny bestowed by that name and founded Doves Press with Emery Walker, but by 1909, their partnership had ended, and it ended badly. One of their disputes was over ownership of the Doves typeface, painstakingly modeled after the fonts of Renaissance Venice, so Coben-Sanderson threw the type into the River Thames in a fit of drama also befitting his cumbersome name. More than 150 of the pieces have been found, enough to recreate big chunks of the typeface, which is very exciting for a specific kind of nerd.

A Crusader’s Sword

Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords may be no basis for a system of government, but it’s a pretty good archeological strategy. Okay, there were no strange women involved, but a scuba diver chilling off the coast of Israel found some seriously Arthurian treasure, including a barnacle-covered but unmistakably ancient, giant sword. The Israel Antiquities Authority declared that it was about 900 years old and owned by a Crusader, then promptly passed it on to the National Treasures Department, probably leaving the scuba diver regretful that he didn’t just keep quiet and play Poseidon with it.

A Whole Entire Ancient Dude

Back in the ‘90s, some skeletal remains were found in the shallows of the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest. That’s not necessarily unusual — it was the serial killer capital of the world for a time. But these bones were old. Like, really old. They also formed a damn near complete skeleton. It was eventually determined that the so-called “Kennewick Man” had lived 9,000 years ago, making him one of the oldest skeletons ever found in the Americas and “the most important human skeleton ever found in North America.” 

So if you ever find bones at the beach, sure, they probably belonged to a fish, but call in an expert anyway. It might be a really cool fish.

Scroll down for the next article
Forgot Password?