The Steamboat Arabia, What They Found Inside The Sunken Remains Of A 150-Year-Old Steamboat Is Still Edible

In 1856, the Steamboat Arabia left the banks of Kansas City on a routine supply trip up the Missouri River. Onboard were two hundred tons of precious cargo en route to 16 different towns along the frontier. 

Steamboats were common in those days, as they were the best method of traveling up and down America's river systems. These boats were a big business at the time and were absolutely essential for trade and commerce.


Unfortunately for the Steamboat Arabia, a fallen walnut tree was waiting just below the surface of the water, hidden from sight thanks to the glare on the water from the setting sun. The impact instantly tore the hull and the boat sank in minutes. Thankfully, everyone on board was able to swim to safety, except for one poor mule who was tied to the deck and forgotten in the chaos.

The soft river bottom quickly engulfed the boat in mud and silt and in just a few days, it was swept away entirely due to the force of the river. Over time, the river shifted course and for the next 132 years, the Arabia was lost to the world until it was discovered in the 1980s, 45 feet deep underneath a Kansas farm.

Legend of the sunken ship had been passed on through the generations in the area and inspired local Bob Hawley to find it in 1987. He and his sons used old maps and sophisticated equipment to eventually find the boat half a mile away from the present-day river. The farmers who owned the land agreed to let them dig it up - as long as they were done in time for the spring planting season.

All manner of heavy equipment was brought in, including a 100-ton crane. 20,000 gallons of water had to be removed into 65-foot-deep wells.

After two weeks of excavation, the first parts of the boat appeared - the remains of the left paddlewheel and this small black rubber shoe that was lying on the deck.

They also recovered fine China, fully preserved along with its yellow packing straw. It had all been preserved perfectly thanks to the airtight mud.

On November 26, 1988, the full boat was uncovered along with its 200 tons of buried treasure. 

With no air to cause spoilage, thousands of items were recovered completely intact. Jars of preserved foods were still totally edible. One brave excavator even tested it out by eating a pickle from one of the jars and found it to still be fresh.

Today, the artifacts are all housed in a museum in Kansas City called the Steamboat Arabia Museum. One of their displays is the fully preserved skeleton of that poor mule. 

These jars of preserved fruits are just some of the relics recovered from the Arabia.

Thinking of all those unmade pies kinda makes me sad ...

Though most of the hats recovered from the Steamboat Arabia were wool felt, this hat is one of a rare few that were made of beaver fur, which is naturally water resistant.

All manner of clothing was found. Much of it could still be worn today.

The ship also had over 4,000 shoes, all packed up and ready for delivery. Some shoes were even lined with buffalo hair for extra warmth.


A keg of ale from 1856.

These bottles of French perfume were still fragrant when they were recovered. Ever wondered what the 1800s smelled like?

Just a few of the 29 different patterns of calico buttons found on the Arabia.

Calico fabric was a type of cotton printed with small, repeating patterns named after its point of origin, Calcutta (now Kolkata), India. The fabric was quite popular in England and the Western world and the Steamboat Arabia had several calico dresses that sadly did not survive that much time underwater. The dresses did have porcelain buttons printed in the same patterns as the dresses, however, which shows us what kinds of designs people were wearing back in those times.

A variety of (mostly unidentified) vintage medicines.

A sampling of some of the other relics recovered from the steamboat. 



Would you try this 150-year-old pickle?

Gravitational Waves Detected, Confirming Einstein’s Theory

Scientists have found evidence for one of Einstein’s famed prophecies. They captured the sound of black holes colliding.

That faint rising tone, physicists say, is the first direct evidence of gravitational waves, the ripples in the fabric of space-time that Einstein predicted a century ago. And it is a ringing (pun intended) confirmation of the nature of black holes, the bottomless gravitational pits from which not even light can escape, which were the most foreboding (and unwelcome) part of his theory.

Elephants Don't Change Thier Habits via Alex Cord

The Elephants in the Room: Watch a Herd Walk through a Hotel

Why go on a safari when you can watch wildlife right from the comfort of your hotel?

Inviting big, exotic animals inside probably wasn't the plan when the Mfuwe Lodge was built in Zambia in 1998, but that’s what wound up happening. The lodge surrounds a mango tree that a local group of elephants likes to feed on and sits on the path they traditionally used to get to it.

When Mfuwe opened for business, the elephants made it clear they had no intention of changing their route. They walked in like they owned the place, shuffled through the lobby and out into the courtyard to feast on mangoes.

The spectacle, no doubt concerning to whoever was working the reception desk the first time it happened, has become one of the lodge’s main draws, and attracts crowds of tourists every year. According to the lodge, the group that makes the annual stroll through the lobby includes three generations of one elephant family, including their matriarch “Wonky Tusk” and the young “Lord Wellington,” who was born on the lodge grounds in 2009.

Wildlife cameraman Nathan Pilcher recently (2014) went to Mfuwe to see the elephants for himself, and you can watch his short movie by clicking the following link! --- December 14, 2015

The Elephants that came to dinner|Mfuwe Lodge, Zambia


Historical Pictures [via David Adashek]

Tony Kiritsis holding Richard O Hall hostage with a shotgun during a live television broadcast, 1977  

A possible photo of Confederate cadets during the civil war  

Santa with a helmet delivering presents during the London Blitz, 1940   

A child's gas mask during WW2  

The oldest known documented wheelie, 1936  

Smithsonian Photo Contest Winners [via Alex Cord]

Sandhill Cranes
Bosque Del Apache, New Mexico
Image credits: Diane McAllister
Snowy Meadow
Mount Hood Wilderness, Oregon
Image credits: Jarrod Castaign
Purple Sea Star
Olympic Wilderness, Washington
Image credits: Thomas Bancroft
Peak Fall Colors
Ouachita National Forest, Arkansas
Image credits: Laura Vu
American Alligator
Marjory Stoneman Douglas, Florida
Image credits: Jenna Van Kley
Sunset Paddle
Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Minnesota