CNN (and several news outlets) are reporting that a salvage diver may have found the wreckage of the "Santa Maria"---Christopher Columbus' flagship.
What possible impacts might this discovery have on post-Columbian American (meaning all of the Americas) history?
It shouldn't have any. We know the ship existed through records. Columbus himself is the controversial one. Unfortunately in today's news environment, it will probably not merit much more discussion.
Does the re-emergence of any lost historical artifact possess any meaning?
Um. It means they found a ship of historical importance and can learn more about it. Isn't that enough?
No actually learning more about the "thing" itself is not the enough.
The point of this forum is to consider the ways in which historical artifacts---when discovered, begin to shape and reshape discussions as to their significance, meaning, and legacy in terms of the larger historical narrative.
The forum is an attempt to consider the historical artifact in terms common to professional historians, museum curators, archivists, etc.
I was thinking more about the general public consciousness about Columbus and his time. But from the professional historians and archeologists point of view, it will be very significant. Maybe something new about technology of that time will be found (shipbuilding, etc.). Artifacts from the Native Americans would be a great find.
Um. Sometimes you look at the "thing" and discover it just adds detail to what you already knew.
Sometimes a ship is just a ship. One that was from a well known maker on a well-documented voyage.
If you are expecting anything else in this case it would help if you said what and why? What makes you think something unexpected might be found--like what?
Honestly I think this is an area of history we probably focus too much on, relatively speaking. Royal families and white people "discovering" things.
Do you think the discovery of Columbus' "Santa Maria"---particularly the focus on the importance of this ship and this man to the history of the Americas, might work to create some meaningful dialogue about the focus on white people and white/European "discovery" of the New World?
Is such a dialogue needed? Timely? Waste of time? Something else?
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