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This week's In the News focuses on recent underwater archaeological excavations. On August 1, 1798, British Rear Admiral Sir Horatio Nelson defeated French Admiral Francois-Paul Brueys d'Aigailliers in a naval battle fought in Aboukir Bay, east of Alexandria, Egypt. The decisive clash, known as the Battle of the Nile, crippled the French navy and secured British control of the Mediterranean Sea. Nelson's momentous victory altered the course of European colonial history by thwarting Napoleon Bonaparte's tripartite plan to capture Egypt, strangle Britain's Mediterranean trade routes, and threaten British possession of India. Recent discoveries announced last weekend by a team of marine archaeologists, led by Franck Goddio of the Society of Underwater Exploration, have revealed new evidence about the battle, allowing historians to reconstruct the battle's order of events, chart the positions of the two navies, and analyze the military tactics of both fleets. The underwater archaeological team, with the aid of magnetic imaging and satellite positioning technology, has been scrupulously surveying the wreckage for three years. Besides shedding light on naval military history, the team of divers have found human remains and a bounty of sunken treasure, including cannons, firearms, cutlery, glassware, navigational equipment, surgical tools, typefaces for an onboard printing press, and a variety of copper, silver, and gold coins. These nine resources provide news, interviews, history, commentary, and analysis of the discoveries.
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