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Island’s wrecks featured on PBS NewsHour

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Philippe Rouja at the Mary Celestia (Photograph supplied)

Bermuda’s rich history of shipwrecks was highlighted on American television.

PBS NewsHour’s art and culture segment last week featured The Bermuda 100 Challenge — a joint project between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Marine Heritage Section, Look Bermuda and University of California San Diego’s Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative.

Philippe Rouja, the Custodian of Historic Wrecks, said: “The aim of the Bermuda 100 project is to document 100 or more historic shipwrecks and distinct natural habitats in the waters surrounding Bermuda in order to enhance conservation efforts and open the sites to both real and virtual tourism from interested students, researchers and travellers from around the world.

“Local divers, scientists and archaeologists are teaming up with students and faculty from University of California San Diego’s Cultural Heritage Engineering Initiative to document and disseminate digital reconstructions of shipwreck sites and marine conservation areas using modern technologies to collect, process, analyse, visualise and disseminate 3D data and visualisations from known shipwrecks and still to be located remains.”

Dr Rouja added: “PBS NewsHour has an average of 1.1 million viewers nightly and therefore this filming presents an incredible opportunity for Bermuda to showcase this work to the world.”

Jeffery Brown, PBS NewsHour’s senior correspondent and chief arts correspondent, spent two days in San Diego with lead professor Falko Kuester at the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology Virtual Engineering Labs and three days in Bermuda in February with Dr Rouja.

A government spokeswoman said: “Mr Brown was able to view the shipwrecks and artefacts in super resolution via virtual reality in San Diego and then experience them in person in Bermuda, demonstrating the promise of this new and developing technology.”

The first instalment of the two-part series was shown on Thursday evening, with the second screened yesterday evening.

To see the first part, visit www.pbs.org/newshour/show/bermuda-battles-to-save-the-cultural-treasure-of-shipwrecks

Philippe Rouja with Jeffrey Brown at wrecks of the Norkoplin and Emma Davis (Photograph supplied)
Bermuda underwater scenes on display at the University of California San Diego (Photograph supplied)
Viewing the Mary Celestia at the University of California San Diego (Photograph supplied)