Sunday, April 15, 2012

Corpses at the Titanic Wreck Site

Just got up and thought I'd have a cup of tea and look at the news, and I saw this. In the immortal words of twelve year olds everywhere, "duh." There are corpses on the site where the Titanic sank- or at least bits of corpses. You can't tell me this is news to the public?

That bit about the shoes- I've seen the "cropped" picture before, back in 85, I guess; on one of the documentaries. I distinctly recall the voiceover stating that, owing to the way the shoes are arranged, they used to have feet in them.

If they cropped out the coat, that was just placating delicate sensibilities: 1500 people died, of course there are bodies. It's a massive graveyard. And we're supposed to be surprised there are forensic people bits in the dirt?

After a hundred years in dry ground, there sometimes isn't much left to show where a body was interred, but there are almost always some clues to go on, some hints. Coffin nails. Changes in color and texture to the soil, if nothing else.This is the same thing; the leather and fabrics are marking the presence of bodies; it's even possible that there would be forensic traces in the soil, evidence of microbial activity in decomposition. When did this become news?

Update: So, there's actual news, it's just not showing up over on this side of the globe. I found this article, which brings up interesting ideas- there are lots of shoes in the debris field, but it's theoretically possible that there could be anoxic areas of the ship, with greater organic preservation. So possibly, not just shoes and coats, but bone. There's even a claim of a finger bone (in a wedding ring) in the debris field itself. So that's news. Grim news, but actual news, that might be useful in the legal wrangling about salvage vs site preservation.

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