The oldest message in a bottle found, 132 years old - photo

By SSPDailyApr 2, 2024 14:39 PMCuriosity
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The oldest message in a bottle found
The oldest message in a bottle found. Source: www.livescience.com

The world's oldest message in a bottle was found by a couple almost 132 years after it was thrown into the sea.

This was reported by SSPDaily

Perth resident Tonya Illman stumbled upon the bottle while walking along the sand dunes on a remote beach in Western Australia, and her husband Kim said he had "no idea" what kind of paper was inside.

"Tonya saw a lot of trash on the ground and decided to help clean it up," Illman said. He added that she found the bottle and thought it would be a nice addition to her bookshelf.

The couple took the bottle home and dried the note in the oven, and soon discovered that the letter was dated June 12, 1886, and was thrown from the German ship Paula as part of an experiment by the German Maritime Observatory to study the ocean and sea lanes.

"Tonya tried to untie the rope around the paper, but it was quite fragile, so we took it home and put it in the oven for five minutes to dry out the moisture," he told the BBC. "Then we unfolded it and saw the printed text. At that point we couldn't see the handwritten ink, but we saw a printed message asking the reader to contact the German consulate if they found the note."

Experts confirmed the authenticity of the curious find after the couple took it to the specialists of the Museum of Western Australia.

Dr. Ross Anderson, assistant curator of maritime archaeology, said after consulting with colleagues from Germany and the Netherlands that the find was authentic.

"Incredibly, during an archival search in Germany, the original meteorological log of the Paula was found, and it contained an entry for June 12, 1886, made by the captain, stating that the bottle had been thrown overboard," he said. "The date and coordinates match exactly with those on the bottle."

Dr. Anderson added that the handwriting on the log and the message in the bottle also matched. In his report, he wrote that the bottle was discarded in the southeastern Indian Ocean as the ship was sailing from Cardiff to Indonesia - and probably washed up on the Australian coast within 12 months, where it was buried under the sand.

The report concludes: "The bottle's narrow seven-millimeter opening and thick glass helped buffer and preserve the paper from the full effects of the elements, providing a protective microenvironment conducive to the paper's long-term preservation."

The Guinness World Record for the oldest message in a bottle previously stood at 108 years, from the time of dispatch to the time of discovery.

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