July 23, 2021

Anchors Far Away


Anchors Far Away
This totally cool anchor is not from Kamchatka but also not too far away: its source is the Kaisei Maru Japanese sealing ship, sunk off Sitka, Alaska, in 1909. Amanda Shirnina

The proverbial cat dragged in, from the Kamchatka trash, two ship's anchors of historical value from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Uncovered and announced recently, the anchors were local residents' trash but the treasure of the Ministry of Culture. Museum workers treated the anchors with gun oil to try to preserve the metal. They were especially interested in maintaining the eighteenth-century remnant.

What was happening on the Kamchatka Peninsula in the eighteenth century? Probably lots of things, but historians note that Peter the Great sent expeditions there, it was mapped in 1720, and it was mapped even better in 1755. The first lengthy description of the peninsula was written in 1755 by explorer Stepan Krasheninnikov, An Account of the Land of Kamchatka.

These mappings and expeditions made it possible for the Russian-American Company to set up camp and the fur trade and launch an overseas empire into Alaska and get into fights over maritime territory with Americans and Canadians and Japanese and all manner of other things.

The earliest surviving anchors were built during the Bronze Age – about 3300 BCE to 1200 BCE – and were made of rocks. Experts assume that anchors prior to that were also made of rock.

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