National Geographic at Novaya Zemlya

National Geographic Russia magazine will serve as the informational partner to an expedition by the Russian Geographic Society and the Russian Association of Polar Explorers that is bound for the Novaya Zemlya archipelago. In September 2011, after years of research, Novaya Zemlya marks the site from which a caravel will be raised from the deep. The vessel was part of the 1596 Dutch expedition led by William Barents that attempted to sail the northern sea route from Europe to India.

With this unique find, Russian scientists will become the first to reconstruct a caravel from an era renowned for its great geographic discoveries. At this stage, the researchers will carry out complex underwater hydraulic engineering work to clear the hull of alluvial soil and to stabilize the bottom of the caravel so as to determine how well it has been preserved and the best method for lifting the vessel from the Kara Sea floor. But the most interesting stage of the work will be raising the artifacts on the ship — guns, anchors, the ship’s bell and other equipment — that will later be placed in Russian museums. The final stage will be investigating Cape Carlsen, the alleged burial place of William Barents that was discovered in 1979.

An underwater documentary shoot will record the work and provide material for a feature film about the discovery.

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