Hunting for sunken ships and pirates’ treasure may seem like a childish fantasy, but there are people who have made it their life’s mission to locate lost shipwrecks. Whether they are 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. It is estimated that there are over 3 million undiscovered shipwrecks across the globe.
Modern technologies such as underwater robots and sonar have revolutionized the ability of scientists, explorers and salvagers to locate 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.
In addition to valuable artifacts, the discovery of shipwrecks can also give us valuable insight into past civilizations, closure concerning the lives lost, and crucial information allowing us to deduce the events leading up to a ship’s last moments.
To compile a list of the most famous shipwrecks ever found, 24/7 Wall St. pored over dozens of historical articles concerning the shipwrecks and their eventual discoveries.