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Marine Archaeologist Mensun Bound: “Nothing Compares with Finding the Endurance...”

3rd November 2022
Menson Bound, Director of Exploration of Endurance22 expedition on the sea ice of Weddell Sea, in the Antarctic
Menson Bound, Director of Exploration of Endurance22 expedition on the sea ice of Weddell Sea, in the Antarctic Credit: Esther Horvath

Marine archaeologist Mensun Bound has witnessed great works of art lying on the seabed and chests overflowing with treasure, but says, “nothing compares with finding the Endurance....”

Speaking at the recent Shackleton Autumn School in Athy, Co Kildare, Bound described how he could still recall that “hairs-rising-on-the-back-of-your-neck feeling” when he first observed the images of the Endurance, filmed at a depth of 3,008 metres, in early March 2022.

Bound, who was born in the Falkland Islands, has discovered many of the world’s most famous shipwrecks. From 1994 to 2013, he was Triton Fellow in Maritime Archaeology at St Peter’s College, Oxford University.

Latterly, he was director of exploration on the two expeditions to locate the Endurance in Antarctica’s Weddell Sea, and is a trustee of the Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, which organised the ambitious project.

The Ship Beneath The Ice, is a compelling account of the two dramatic expeditions to find the EnduranceThe Ship Beneath The Ice, is a compelling account of the two dramatic expeditions to find the Endurance

His new book, The Ship Beneath The Ice, is a compelling account of the two dramatic expeditions to find the vessel in what Shackleton called “the most hostile sea on Earth”.

As with Shackleton, Bound experienced failure and despair, and at times his own ship was on the cusp of being frozen in ice, much like the Endurance. 

He spoke to Wavelengths in Athy, recalling how it all started with a cup of coffee, describing the influence of the Falkland islands on his career in maritime archaeology, the technology used to locate the Endurance, and what he would really have liked to have seen on the wreck.

You can listen to the interview below

The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance, published by Macmillan in both hardback and paperback, is available in all good bookshops.

Published in Wavelength Podcast
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Weekly dispatches from the Irish coast with journalist Lorna Siggins, talking to people in the maritime sphere. Topics range from marine science and research to renewable energy, fishing, aquaculture, archaeology, history, music and more...

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