Some five centuries ago, a major revolution overturned traditional ship designs. Since the Roman era, ship builders in Europe and the Mediterranean had been turning out the same tried and true designs and engineering techniques. And then, in the 15th century, within the span of a few shor t years, ships were transformed from small coastal-bound transports into massive ocean-going vessels capable of long-distance exploration. The great Native American civilizations were brought down by invading colonists... [see more] and European diseases. And once regular trans-oceanic travel became feasible, everything changed. Powerful navies arose and fought for supremacy over the land and sea. The influential-if destructive-European empires spread around the globe. The modern world was born. But exactly how did a seemingly modest change in ship design produce such transformative global upheaval? Modern scholars and historians trying to study exactly what happened at this crucial moment have always faced a problem: There's a hole in our history. All of the ships dating back to this key period of transformation have long ago disappeared, leaving behind only rough drawings and incomplete records. Now the wreck of one of these crucial transitional ships may have been found off the coast of Sweden. Built around the same time as Columbus' trio of ships, it may finally unlock the engineering secrets of those famous ships and provide physical evidence of the engineering breakthroughs that helped create the modern world. Dive with NOVA as we search underwater to reveal the secrets of this amazing discovery.
PBS' premier science series helps viewers of all ages explore the science behind the headlines. Along the way, NOVA programs demystify science and technology and highlight the people involved in scientific pursuits.