Monday, November 9, 2009

Jim Delgado at Annapolis Monument

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While this photo from Jim's web site is labeled as being the "Mexican Monument" at Annapolis, I think it may be the monument the Navy Plebes (?) climb as a class, with the first one to reach the top said to be favored to be the first admiral. This monument is named after an officer from the Mexican War?, which is around the time that the USS Somers sank off Mexico. Admiral Denny talked about this monument when he was at Somers Mansion on Richard Somers Day (2009).

Jim Delgado participated in the search and discovery of the deep dive wreck USS Somers, and has plans for doing a documentary TV show on the search for the wreck of the USS Philadelphia in Tripoli Harbor.

Both the USS Philadelphia and the Intrepid sunk in Tripoli Harbor, but washed ashore along the east side of the harbor, near an old breastwork fort, called the English Fort and other name on old maps. Both ship wrecks are also located near the location of the Old Protestant Cemetery, which is about 100 yards from the harbor shore and within walking distance of the old English Fort.

According to the article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer (August, 2009), Dr. Anag, the director of Antiquities at the museum in the old castle fort, both the Philadelphia and the Intrepid wrecks have been covered over with cement, which should have served as a good preservative.

Jim said that he wanted to film the documentary on the Philadelphia wreck with John Davis, for a History Channel or National Geographic Channel special, but the once friendly atmosphere suddenly changed with the release of the convicted Lockerbe bomber, and the US relations with Libya remain rocky.

The cooperation that is necessary for the humanitarian maintenance of the Old Protestant Cemetery and the repatriation of the remains of American naval heroes is precisely what is needed to restore the friendly initiatives.

One of the things that the United States can bring to the table, other than our willingness to buy oil, is the educational, scientific and humanitarian programs that Libya could use, especially in the fields of archeology and the media.

In the interview Dr. Anag gave to the archeology magazine, he says Libya needs young archeology students, interns and tourists who want to work the many sites now being excavated, and some just being discovered.

While many of these are centuries old, the Tripoli Harbor sites of the Philadelphia and Intrepid wrecks, the English Fort, the original grave site and Old Protestant Cemetery are only two hundred years old, only yesterday in their scheme of things.

What would we hope to find?

At the wreck of the Philadelphia, they could expect to find cannons, and whatever one would expect to find in a frigate of that era.

There would be less of the Intrepid, but the hull should be easy to find, and it is said that the mast, which was blown onto the rocks by the explosion, may have been salvaged by the Libyans and could even be on display in the old castle fort museum run by Dr. Anag.

The mast of the Inrepid may be hanging near Ghadaffi's little Volkswagon Bug that he drove into Tripoli during the 1969 coup, and along with a box with the "bones and buttons" of the men of the Intrepid.

Also See The Underwater City of Tioda:

Tibuda or Tiboda is situated only a few kilometres to the west of Zwara city (Zuwarah), and sits about seven to ten meters under water and about 200 meters from the coast. It is not yet fully explored nor properly catalogued, as it was discovered only recently. Its close proximity to Zuwarah city may shed more light about the ancient history of Zuwara, before its ancient coast was claimed by the sea. The disappearance of land under the sea is a common occurrence in nature and the Mediterranean sea had claimed many coastal cities in the past and it was predicted that it will continue to do so in the future, especially after the predicted melting of the arctic and antarctic ice. Scientists have warned that many coastal cities are at risk and that the sea level could rise by nine metres (9 m). If scientists are correct, then Zuwarah itself will join its sister Tibuda in the near future. Around Greenland and Iceland, there are already a number of cities and villages registered as "endangered places", some of which are being moved to other localities.

However, it has been already said that Tibuda was the ancient port of the city of Zuwarah during the Roman period, and that the port was used to export the main commodities produced by the Zuwaran communities, mainly salt, lime and gypsum. The evidence for this comes from its Roman name. D. Haynes, in his An Archaeological And Historical Guide To The Pre-Islamic Antiquities of Tripolitania (p. 136.), gives a list of the names of the towns and villages that formed the stations along the Roman road across the coastal Tripolitania. Based on the Roman pictorial road-map of the Roman Empire, the Tabula Peutingeriana, and on the evidence preserved by the road milestones along this road, he gives the following names: Sabratha, Ad Ammonem, Casas, and Gypsaria (Marset Tibuda). Casas has been identified with Zuwarah, and Gypsaria (or Tibuda) is clearly related to gypsum, which indicates that the area around Tibuda could have also produced gypsum, the reason of which the port may have been built in that locality. The name Marset Tibuda clearly indicates that it was a seaport (marsa), from marina, which survives today in the local language in another name: elmers (Zuwara Marina), the current seaport of Zuwara, a few miles east of the city. However, it is not known yet if the port, like many other sites along the Libyan coast, was in existence before the Romans had arrived; only archaeological analysis of sunken Tibuda would indicate if the Phoenicians had an earlier connection with the buried port.

Libya ’ s 2000-kilometer-long coastline offers a unique opportunity to divers and underwater explorers to see what has never been seen before, including a large number of wrecks, sunken archaeological cities and sites (many of which are certainly to be discovered), and gold, supposedly lost to pirates and ships from the Second World War. Some tour operators offer cruises along the coast, with onboard diving facilities. The most popular diving destinations include Janzour, Tajoura and Zwara or Zuwarah. Unfortunately Tiboda is currently closed to public viewing without a written permission from the Libyan Board of Tourism and Traditional Industries. We can arrange tours to the sunken site only if visitors can secure a written permit from the Libyan Board of Tourism. Please do not attempt to visit the site without written permission no matter what your guide tells you, as this could land you in trouble with the authorities.

From what has been explored so far and from what has been released to the public, Tiboda looks like a small city with stone columns and building structures, thought to have been built thousands of years ago, probably dating back to the Carthaginian period, and may have been once more than a sea port, if not the ancient Casas or Zuwarah herself.

This conclusion is evidenced by the archaeological remains found south of Tibuda. These remains or ruins have always been there and were always part of Zuwarah's history. They are located about four kilometres (4 km) west of Zuwara, and the local Berbers call them ighermawen , the plural form of aghrem ('the castle'), from the fact that the remains constituted a number of ancient castles. As far as I know, the site is not catalogued nor fully studied by any academic authority. There is no doubt that the site is very ancient because among the finds were remains of Roman villas and buildings, mosaic pieces and pottery.

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