The Gibraltar National Museum has announced a special lecture which it has organised for Tuesday 30th May.

Renowned explorer Mensun Bound, will share memories of his life as a marine archaeologist and in particular the incredible journey of the Endurance22 team to find the Endurance, the lost ship of Sir Ernest Shackleton, which is chronicled in his latest book, The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance.

Mensun was director of exploration for two expeditions to the Weddell Sea which led to the rediscovery of the Endurance, in which Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men sailed for the Antarctic on the 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. The ship sank after being crushed by the ice on the 21st November,1915, but it was only rediscovered by the Endurance22 expedition in March 2022 - and this will be the theme of Mensun's talk in Gibraltar.

Mensun is also renowned for directing the excavation of an Etruscan 6th Century BC shipwreck off Giglio Island, in Italy, the oldest known shipwreck of the Archaic era. Fine wares from the site consisted mainly of Corinthian, Laconian, Ionian and Etruscan fabrics representing a range of shapes. Some were painted with human figures, animals, florals and mythological motifs.

Mensun, born in the Falkland Islands, directed the recovery of the Hoi An Cargo from the wreck of a 15th Century junk, which revolutionized the understanding of Ming-Vietnamese porcelain from Vietnam's art-historical Golden Age. The Hoi An excavation, licensed by Vietnam's Minister of Culture, was the deepest, full-scale archaeological excavation ever attempted, involving three large vessels, three deep-ocean tugs, two gun-boats for protection and over 150 people. The excavation took four years and cost US $14 million.

In 2014–15, Mensun led a search for the Imperial German East Asia Squadron, which was sunk during the Battle of the Falkland Islands in 1914. Since then, using an autonomous underwater vehicle and remotely operated vehicle on surveys, he eventually located the squadron's flagship, SMS Scharnhorst in April 2019, 105 years after her sinking.

Mensun, who lives in Oxfordshire, also led a survey in 1997 of the third-rate ship of the line, HMS Agamemnon (built 1781). This was Lord Nelson's first major command, the ship on which he first fought the French and, in 1805, was part of his column at the Battle of Trafalgar (it was also the ship upon which he first met Lady Hamilton). In 1809, the ship was lost in Maldonado Bay near the mouth of the River Plate. The main result of the survey was the discovery of a cannon, which, because of the number on its breach, was confirmed by the Woolwich Arsenal to be the only cannon in existence fired in the Battle of Trafalgar. The cannon was conserved in the Uruguayan Navy Yard and is now on display in the Naval Museum of Montevideo, in Uruguay.

Mensun's work has been the subject of many documentaries in England, Italy and the US, including an award-winning, four-part series entitled Lost Ships. The BBC has made several documentaries on his work including Queen Elizabeth's Lost Guns, about the recovery, replication and test-firing of an Elizabethan iron cannon from the wreck at Alderney in the Channel Islands. In all, three cannon were recovered and a variety of Tudor weaponry and pottery.

Of particular interest to those attending the talk will be the survey that Mensun conducted (1992- 94) in collaboration with Clive Finlayson of the Gibraltar Museum on a large deposit of cannon that was found just beyond the Detached Mole.

This will be a unique opportunity to hear a first-hand account of the discovery of the Endurance from a world-renowned marine archaeologist who has been giving major lecture tours in UK, Europe, the United States and Canada. It will also be an opportunity to attend a signing of the book that tells the story of the discovery and which is now in its fifth edition and became a best seller just before Christmas 2022.

The lecture will take place at the John Mackintosh Hall on Tuesday 30th May at 7pm and entrance is free.

Tickets for the event may be obtained from:

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