SHIPWRECK DIVING  Artifact Presentation
The complete Diver's guide to the skills, and techniques of artifact presentation.




   Capt. Dan Berg's Wreck Valley Collection   



Recreational divers have two distinct views on what should be done to present an artifact for display. On one side, some divers clean and polish every brass piece they recover. On the other side, some divers preserve but don't clean their objects at all, allowing whatever rust, barnacles or coral to vividly show to all the origin of the artifact. (Right photo courtesy Mike Boring)



Photos: Small porthole from the Sea Cliff Wreck made into a clock and Bronze hatch from the San Diego shipwreck, converted into a table.

I've found that each artifact has to be looked at individually. Some need cleaning to show the original beauty, while others need to be preserved then left alone. Most need certain key areas to be polished while leaving barnacles and some growth in place to give immediate identification that the artifact has been found in the sea. As an example of this, I recently was diving on a World War I Navy vessel with some friends. When we all retrieved some brass valves and brought them home, most were completely covered in a conglomeration of rust from the steel the valves were lying on. Two weeks later, we compared our valves. Some were left covered in rust, which truthfully looked like a hunk of junk rather than a brass artifact. Some were polished to a high gloss which must have taken considerable time and effort and only resulted in looking like a piece of brass purchased in the local hardware store. I had left one of my valves covered in rust then chiseled away the rust that covered the wheel. I then cleaned and polished the wheel while leaving the rest covered or fossilized. We all agreed that this was the best of both worlds. This method can be adapted to almost any artifact. Say for example, that you had recovered a porthole and had already cleaned and polished the item. Simply find a few barnacles and glue them to the artifact in a couple of places; you'll be amazed at how much more authentic and historic your treasure will look.


Photos: Ed Maliszewski converted this bronze capstan cover from the Western World wreck into a standing lamp. Porthole from the 59th Street Wreck converted into a wall light and a WW I gunpowder canister made into a standing lamp.

Artifact presentation goes far beyond deciding how to clean an item. Many items can be put back into use. I have a ship's brass door frame mounted as an entrance into my office, a porthole as a window, another brass frame made into a coffee table, a standing lamp made from a gunpowder canister and brass valve wheels mounted onto my garden hose faucets. Although this is a bit extreme, it's not uncommon for divers to use recovered china or silverware or to electrify a cage lamp and hang it on the wall. Small portholes can easily be made into clocks or they make beautiful picture frames. Some artifacts can be mounted and hung from the wall, while some should simply sit on a shelf. Still others can be used and enjoyed every day.
Photo Shipwreck Helm from a Bermuda shipwreck made into a gate. Photo courtesy Teddy Tucker.

Porthole side table. Courtesy Dan Berg   Mirror made from a brass loading hatch


 This was the first Spanish coin I ever found. It was dug up while metal detecting a beach in New Jersey. We think this and other coins recovered in the area came from the wreck of the Live Oak. My wife had it made into a ring for me. Just another example of artifact presentation. Photo by Dan Berg.

Porthole Jewelry Display Case    

This rectangular brass porthole was recovered from a small cabin cruiser wreck from an area known as Derelict Bay. The artifact had no historic significance at all. Capt. Ed Slater took the little porthole and transformed it into a beautiful display case gold rings recovered from metal detecting.

Brass portholes make great photo frames. This was just a porthole swing plate. Recovered with no glass. An artifact photo taken aboard the charter boat Wreck Valley was enlarged to fit and plexi glass was cut to replace the artifacts original glass. Photo by Dan Berg


Diver Steve Jonassen made a clock out of this small brass porthole swing plate. Photo by Dan Berg.

Ship in a bottle replica of the Lizzie D wreck built in a bottle recovered from the wreck.

Mike Boring with brass window
from the Andrea Doria.
  The same window polished and used as
a art frame. (Photos courtesy Mike Boring)

The Shipwreck Diving E-Book  Instant Downloadable E-Book 

Shipwreck Diving, by Capt. Dan Berg is a complete how to book about the sport of wreck diving. This book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs.



Shipwreck Diving ebook
The complete diver's guide to mastering the skills of shipwreck diving.

Buy Now   only $9.95
6 MB instant download, printable  PDF file

Shipwreck Diving is a complete how to ebook about the sport of wreck diving. This downloadable PDF e-book is packed with information and heavily illustrated with over 80 sensational color photographs. Daniel Berg, a noted wreck diver, instructor and author of ten shipwrecks related books, describes all the basics of wreck diving. Topics include everything from equipment modifications, communication, and wreck penetration to artifact preservation. Dan also tells how to navigate on a wreck and be able to return to the anchor line after the dive. Why some divers find more artifacts and explains how to catch lobsters. Shipwreck Diving also covers such diverse topics as shipwreck research, photography, spear fishing and how to use an underwater metal detector. This exciting book tells all the tricks of the trade that until now have only been learned through years of experience. Shipwreck divers of all caliber will find Shipwreck Diving informative, rewarding and entertaining

Check out Capt. Dan's other shipwreck and Diving eBooks



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Copyright Capt. Dan Berg / Aqua Explorers Inc

2745 Cheshire Dr
Baldwin NY 11510


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