This might really confuse future archaeologists

Start with an old barge.

Get some artists to build a steel frame superstructure in the shape of a kraken on top of it.

Then tow it out to sea and sink it to create an artificial reef.

That part’s done, now wait a few centuries for it to be populated with crusty layers of organic material.

It’s going to be beautiful. It already is!


  1. Callinectes says

    If you really want to confuse future archaeologists, outfit a restored Viking longboat with a 1950s outboard motor, load it up with artefacts from across the ages and around the world, and sink it off the coast of New Zealand.

  2. Siobhan says

    For realsies though that would really fuck with attempts to reconstruct a taxonomy from fossil records. x)

  3. wajim says

    At least Sir Richard is having fun. That so, as a true ignoramus in these matters, I wonder if the ship might well be covered in “crusty layers of organic material” much sooner than a “few centuries”? Where is a marine biologist when you need one, amirite?

  4. quatguy says

    I would be more impressed if I hadn’t noticed the huge plume of leaked fuel on the surface at the very end of the video. Aren’t they supposed to clean the ships before they sink them? Looks like they sunk it in a tropical country without proper environmental regulations.

  5. unclefrogy says

    I remember reading some time ago about some experiments with “growing” calcium on some kind of armature in sea water using some small electrical current do not know any of the details but the idea combined with this one is intriguing.
    uncle frogy

  6. MattP (must mock his crappy brain) says

    According to the video it was sunk at Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands. Decades of hydrocarbon residue can be pretty difficult to completely erase without extensive cleaning with degreasers and abrasives, but no excuse if it was caused by any amount of liquid or sludge that can scraped out.

    It is usually called bio-rock. Research started back in the 1970s simply for creating concrete structures from salt water, but still not too many people use it with reefs despite the fact that it is a super easy and inexpensive method to encourage faster and healthier reef growth. All you need is a bit of electrical assistance via (floating) photovoltaic panels tethered to the metal skeleton/armature. Since the accretion is mostly calcium carbonate, it turns the process of artificial reef construction into a decent means of carbon sequestration compared to crap cast concrete reef starters (unless using waste carbon dioxide to aid the curing process and reduce the amount of required portland cement). The electrical assistance possibly also helps limit/prevent coral bleaching, but not sure that result is super well supported.

  7. Pierce R. Butler says

    … a steel frame superstructure in the shape of a kraken …

    Translucent steel?

    I’ve been waiting for this ever since reading of “glassteel” in the “Tom Corbett, Space Cadet” stories!

  8. Cuttlefish says

    But… it looks like it landed on its side! I was waiting for the final underwater shots to show that they had re-righted it before it hit bottom, but they never came! Is there now a beautiful Octo-Exo-Skeleton sitting half-crushed by a barge?

  9. Cuttlefish says

    True… but with no bubble trails to tell us which way is up, it could be at any orientation. I want to believe it is right-side-up, but the video really makes me wonder.