The oldest-known message in a bottle was found on an Australian beach, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.
Australian woman Tonya Illman found a 132-years-old bottle containing a German message while strolling on a beach near Wedge Island, reported ABC. The bottle contained a note written in German that a crew intentionally threw overboard to examine ocean currents. The message was placed in a Dutch gin bottle tied with string and dated June 12, 1886.
The note also provided information that it was thrown off the sailing barque Paula approximately 600 miles off the coast of Western Australia.
“It just looked like a lovely old bottle, so I picked it up thinking it might look good in my bookcase,” said Illman. The girlfriend of the woman’s son noticed a message inside the bottle written in faint German. The family took the bottle home to examine the surprising artifact.
The Illmans believed the bottle could possibly be an elaborate hoax and they took it to the Western Australian Museum. Ross Anderson, the assistant curator of maritime archaeology, investigated the intriguing find. His research colleagues in the Netherlands and Germany helped confirm that it was not a hoax.
The back of the letter also noted to write where one found their message and return it to a German Consulate or the German Naval Observatory in Hamburg, Germany. The German Naval Observatory conducted a series of experiments to better understand ocean currents to improve shipping routes. The last bottle part of this experiment was found in Denmark in 1934, reported the Daily Mail.
The Illmans donated their find to the Western Australian Museum for two years.
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