Titanic

Titanic 2017-07-23T22:25:07+00:00

April 15, 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic.

In August 2010, Jim participated in the most technologically-advanced field expedition to map Titanic. As the principal archaeologist on the wreck, during his tenure as Director of Maritime Heritage at NOAA (2010-2017), he was responsible for writing the archaeological report and site plan.

See media mentions and more below.

Titanic Podcast

Read a short transcript excerpt from a NOAA podcast, on the show Making Waves.

Jim’s riveting talk begins: “Titanic tugged at the heart since the beginning because of the circumstances of its loss. It’s a maiden voyage. You have all of these people on board. There’s so much promise. It was, as they say, in the movie, a ‘ship of dreams,’ particularly of those who were on it, to start a new life.”

Excerpts: At 2:20 a.m. on April 15, 1912, the “unsinkable” R.M.S.Titanic disappeared beneath the waves, taking with her 1,500 souls. One hundred years later, new technologies have revealed the most complete—and most intimate—images of the famous wreck.

“This is a game-changer,” says National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) archaeologist James Delgado, the expedition’s chief scientist. “In the past, trying to understand Titanicwas like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm—with a flashlight.

Archaeology of Titanic

Written by Jim for Archaeology Magazine

Excerpt: In 2010 two highly sophisticated robotic vehicles systematically crisscrossed the seabed on their own, with high-resolution sonar and camera systems, creating the first comprehensive map of the Titanic site. Another robot, at the end of a fiber-optic cable, sent to the surface live, full-color, 3-D images, allowing scientists to virtually walk the decks of the ship. This latest research effort, of which I was a part, represents a paradigm shift in underwater archaeology. For the first time, Titanic can be treated and explored like any other underwater site—even extreme depth is no longer an obstacle to archaeology. Thanks to rapid technological advances and interdisciplinary work, archaeologists have a whole new perspective on sites such as Titanic, and new questions to ask, questions we never could have dreamed of when underwater archaeology began just 50 years ago.

Officials say human remains may be at Titanic shipwreck site

Excerpt: A 2004 photograph, released to the public for the first time this week in an uncropped version to coincide with the disaster’s centenary, shows a coat and boots in the mud at the legendary shipwreck site.

“These are not shoes that fell out neatly from somebody’s bag right next to each other,” James Delgado, the director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, told The Associated Press in a phone interview.

Titanic to Costa Concordia, has safety at sea improved?

Excerpts: But 100 years after Titanic slipped beneath the surface of the Atlantic Ocean, claiming the lives of more than 1,500 people, many of the risks remain very much the same.

Human error in the form of a momentary lapse of judgment or a misread map can still spell the demise of a ship. And we still tend to believe that technology can trump nature – to our own peril, said James Delgado, a shipwreck hunter, historian and director of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Marine Heritage Program.

“I think the key message of Titanic is that whenever we get complacent, whenever we think we have the technology that can deal with something, whenever we think we’re practically untouchable, we get reminded that we’re not,” Delgado told CTVNews.ca.

Titanic explorer ‘to dispatch deep-water robots to conserve the wreck‘

Is the Titanic archaeology? A century since her loss on 15th April 1912 we examine her status as a monument to a great migration, and learn how recent survey has revolutionised knowledge of the wreck, as James Delgado told Matthew Symonds.

A Fragile Tourist Attraction on the Ocean Floor

Excerpts: Explorers and United States government experts have put together the first comprehensive map of the Titanic’s resting place, illuminating a square mile of inky seabed as a guide to better understanding the liner’s death throes and better preserving its remains.

“People have the right to see, explore and learn,” said James P. Delgado, director of maritime heritage at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which monitors the wreck. “But you want to put down guidelines like those at Gettysburg and the Acropolis, so visitors can experience it in the same way.”

Excerpts: Litter bugs on the high seas are fouling the Titanic’s watery grave with beer cans, plastic cups, even soap boxes, a century after the “unsinkable” luxury liner went down, experts said Wednesday.

Contrary to popular belief, the wreck of history’s greatest maritime disaster is not swiftly rusting away 3,780 metres under the North Atlantic. In fact, it looks likely to stay intact for many decades to come. “The basic hull remains very strong and very solid,” said James Delgado, director of the marine heritage program at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), a U.S. federal agency.

Unseen Titanic: New images of wreck reveal entire ship for first time

Excerpts: New images of the wreck of the RMS Titanic reveal for the first time ever the full stretch of the “unsinkable” boat — sprawled silently 12,500 feet beneath the Atlantic Ocean.

“This is a game-changer,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) archaeologist James Delgado, the expedition’s chief scientist, told National Geographic. “In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm—with a flashlight.”

The TITANIC: Incredible Never Before Seen Images!!!

Ooooh, National Geographic, how we love you so…

With the 100th anniversary of the sinking next month, we’re ALL getting way too excited about the 3D re-release of Titanic. But we’re also kinda innerested in the real deal too… which is why these photos BLEW our mind!

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration archaeologist James Delgado says of the project:

“This is a game-changer. In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm—with a flashlight. Now we have a site that can be understood and measured, with definite things to tell us. In years to come this historic map may give voice to those people who were silenced, seemingly forever, when the cold water closed over them.”

What really happened to the Titanic? Stunning images show how the famous wreckage looks today

Excerpts: The Titanic has rested on the Atlantic Ocean floor for nearly a century but now stunning new photographs show what the wreckage looks like today.

James Delgado, of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which has been studying the wreck for decades, explained the significance of the technology used to capture these images.

He told National Geographic: “This is a game-changer. In the past, trying to understand Titanic was like trying to understand Manhattan at midnight in a rainstorm—with a flashlight.

“Now we have a site that can be understood and measured, with definite things to tell us.

“In years to come this historic map may give voice to those people who were silenced, seemingly forever, when the cold water closed over them.”

Unseen Titanic: New images of wreck reveal entire ship for first time

Excerpts: El 15 de abril de 1912, hace casi 100 años, el hasta entonces invencible Titanic culminaba de la forma más trágica su primer viaje tripulado. Tras entrar a una helada zona del Atlántico, su cubierta de acero comenzó a debilitarse producto del intenso frío. Al contrario de lo que se vio en la película, el hundimiento comenzó antes de impactar contra el iceberg.

…La importancia del mapeo en 3D lo ejemplifica el arqueólogo marino James Delgado, quien ha participado en dos expediciones al Titanic. “Si antes se conocía la calle en la que estaba el Titanic, ahora se conoce la ciudad entera.” Esto fue posible gracias a la nueva tecnología que incorporó esta misión: cámaras de alta resolución para tomar fotos, videos con una claridad inédita, una cámara 3D y un sonar capaz de detectar objetos del tamaño del puño de una mano.

Titanic Mistake: Steering Error Sank Ship, Author Claims

Excerpts: According to Louise Patten, the granddaughter of the only senior officer to survive the wreck, Charles Lightoller, Titanic hit the berg because the man at the wheel made a mistake, misunderstanding an order and turning right instead of left.

…Could the helmsman really have made that mistake? And if so, could it have stayed secret for so long?

…”I think it’s entirely possible,” James Delgado, the president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M, told ABC News.

Scientists set sail to study the Titanic wreck

The mission will use underwater robots to take 3-D measurements and construct a comprehensive picture of the famous wreck

Excerpt: Debris from the luxury liner, which sank nearly 100 years ago, is spread over a sprawling underwater site measuring about three-by-five kilometres. The mission will use underwater robots to take three-dimensional measurements and construct a view of the wreck.

“It would be as if you went to the side of the freeway in the aftermath of a car wreck, and everything is spread out,” Mr. Delgado, a maritime archeologist, said on Sunday from the bridge of the Jean Charcot. “Imagine then that after nearly 100 years, it’s still there, untouched.”

In new approach to Titanic, an exhibitor aids scientists

Excerpt: The voyage was prompted by a change of management at R.M.S. Titanic, which has been arguing in court for 17 years to be granted ownership of the artifacts it collected after 1987 or to be compensated for salvaging them. Rather than battle the archaeologists, the company’s new management met with a group of them over a year ago and learned that carefully mapping the wreckage site was the scientific community’s priority.

“A lot of decisions in the past have been decided by a court saying you need to go and pick up things in order to maintain sovereign possession,” said James P. Delgado, the president and chief executive of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, a former critic of the company whose group is participating in this trip. “The level of intervention in the site in the future needs to be dictated by hard science.”

Now it’s Titanic in 3D

A deep-sea expedition will explore the world’s most famous wreck site – so you can do the same

Excerpt: While the main purpose of the mapping effort is archaeological, it will also allow scientists to lift the veil from the world’s most famous ocean cemetery and give all of us the chance to explore its every corner – including its iconic bow, separated at the time of its sinking from its stern – albeit by clicking a mouse. The plan is eventually to post the 3D model on the internet.

“The optical imaging platform is going to give us detailed three-dimensional data which has not been done before,” James Delgado, president of the Texas-based Institute of Nautical Archaeology and a co-leader of the mission told The Independent. “This will be the first time that someone has looked at, mapped, plotted and brought back to the surface the sense of the entire Titanic site.”

Retracing the Titanic for posterity

Scientists to create 3-D map of wreck site

Excerpt: Despite the public fascination with the Titanic, large swaths of the debris field have remained unexplored, and specialists tapped for the project are eager to conduct a systematic, scientific study, work many feel should have been completed years ago. “It’s been a long time coming,’’ Delgado, the expedition’s principal investigator, said. “Arguably this is the best known shipwreck of the 20th century, of incredibly iconic significance, yet there have been very few missions there focused on understanding the site.’’