Divers exploring a wreck off the Shetland coast have identified it as the SM UC-55 German U-boat.
SM UC-55 was a Type UC II mine laying U-boat, one of 64 Type UC II submarines used by the German Imperial Navy during WW1.
SM UC-55 is credited with the sinking of 9 ships during her operational history, and had a compliment of twenty-six crew members commanded by Oblt.z.S. Horst Rühle von Lilienstern at the time of her sinking.
On September the 25th, 1917, SM UC-55 departed from Heligoland with the mission of laying mines in the Lerwick Channel, which serves as the southern approach to the port of Lerwick located in the Shetland Islands.
While laying mines the vessel suffered a loss of trim that caused her to dive beyond the operational depth, resulting in the forward compartments to flood, the batteries failing, and a build-up of chlorine gas.
Unable to save the vessel, her captain gave orders to surface and prepare scuttling, but was sighted by the armed trawler Moravia, and the destroyers HMS Tirade, and HMS Sylvia. HMS Sylvia fired shells and depth charges that destroyed the submarine.
The wreck site was rediscovered in 1985 at a depth of 105 metres, but the first visual inspection by a team of divers has confirmed the vessels identity to be that of the SM UC-55.
Speaking to the BBC, Jacob Mackenzie from the dive team said: “It certainly didn’t sink by accident. This was wartime and if you haven’t been to those depths before you won’t appreciate that it’s pitch black, it’s very quiet, it is quite eerie when you swim around doing this. In the back of your mind you have to remember that this is essentially a grave for probably 20 men who didn’t make it out alive unfortunately.”
Header Image: Two German Type UC II submarines – Image Credit : Navyphotos – Public Domain
Maya tomb with funerary offerings found during hotel construction
A tomb with funerary offerings has been uncovered during the construction of the Tren Maya Hotel, in Palenque, Mexico.
Archaeologists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) conducted rescue excavations following the discovery, revealing skeletal remains associated with the Maya city of Palenque.
Palenque, also known as Lakamha in the Itza Language (meaning “Flat-Place-River”), is located near the Usumacinta River in the Mexican state of Chiapas.
The city dates from 226 BC to AD 799, with most of the major construction works representing a rebuilding effort in response to attacks by the city of Calakmul and its client states in AD 599 and AD 611.
The population declined during the 8th century AD, instead becoming an agricultural population that led to the abandonment of the city zone. By 1520 following the Spanish conquest, contemporary Spanish accounts record the entire region being sparsely populated.
Excavations uncovered a stone lined funerary space sealed with limestone slabs, in which the researchers found the remains of a high-status individual who likely lived in the periphery of Palenque in a small settlement.
The burial is located at a depth of four metres, and also contained ceramic vessels and beads deposited as funerary offerings.
“The individual was placed face up with his legs extended and his head facing north,” said Diego Prieto Hernández from INAH.
The discovery was announced in a press conference reporting on the progress of the Program for the Improvement of Archaeological Zones (Promeza) in Palenque, Moral-Reforma and El Tigre, the three heritage sites that are served within Section 1 of the Mayan Train Project.
Header Image Credit : INAH
Archaeologists unearth possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle
Archaeologists from the Dyfed Archaeological Trust may have discovered the possible birthplace of King Henry VII at Pembroke Castle in Pembrokeshire, Wales.
Pembroke Castle was founded during the 11th century by Roger de Montgomerie, the 1st Earl of Shrewsbury.
In 1452, Jasper Tudor was presented both the castle and the earldom by his half-brother, King Henry VI. In 1457, Henry VII was born at the castle, the only child of Lady Margaret Beaufort and Edmund Tudor, 1st Earl of Richmond.
Following Edward IV’s ascension to the throne in 1471, Henry VII endured 14 years of exile in Brittany. He eventually claimed the throne after his forces, with backing from France, Scotland, and Wales, emerged victorious over Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth Field, marking the climax of the Wars of the Roses.
Henry VII’s reign is credited with many administrative, economic, and tax reforms, having ruled for nearly 24 years until his death in 1509 at the age of 52. Henry VII was succeed by his second son, Henry, Duke of York, who ascended to the crown as Henry VIII.
Historians have long assumed that a 13th century tower on the outer ward (known today as Henry VII Tower) was the birth place of Henry VII. However, a recent study by the Dyfed Archaeological Trust has uncovered evidence of a late-medieval winged hall-house, broadly dating to the 15th century.
The walls of the structure extend to around 25 metres, with comparisons being drawn to medieval buildings found in England and East Wales, such as Penallt Mansion in Kidwelly. Historically, Pembroke Castle was situated in the English-speaking portion of Pembrokeshire, often referred to as “Little England beyond Wales.”
Speaking to the Western Telegraph, Neil Ludlow, a consultant to Pembroke Castle, said: “All our indications are pointing to a late-medieval building which was clearly of high status within Pembrokeshire, and it looks as if it was at least two-storeys, which possibly makes it a better candidate for the birthplace of a king rather that the tower that currently bears his name.”
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