Amidst all the necessary scholarship in this first volume of the series, the authors have also painted a vivid picture of the background, from the conception of the grand ship to its demise, including the various salvage attempts over the ages. It is incredible that, in the 17th century, men were willing and able to descend 30m into the pitch dark in a bell partially filled with air, and salvage guns weighing over a tonne each by first unfastening them from their carriages within the ship, and then wiggling them out of the gun ports. Their courage was matched by that of the 20th century copper helmeted divers digging tunnels under the ship for the lifting cables, never being totally certain that the enormous weight above would not press the hull further into the mud, and them with it. That the divers, in zero visibility, wearing thick rubber mittens recovered almost all of the wooden ornamentation which fell off the hull is equally impressive. Following this is the challenge to excavate the interior, an enormous task, even without the pressure placed upon the archaeologists by the salvage master to lighten the ship NOW. One of the authors was a senior member of this team, and his record of these historic events has an unmatched immediacy.
This is an adventure story for the layman, as well as being a scholarly work for the academic. When will the next volume appear?