Oldest Message in a Bottle

Published: 3.14.2018
Level 3   |   Time: 1:16
Accent: British
BBC Global News Podcast (3.07.2018)

The oldest message in a bottle was recently found in Australia.


You can download the file [ HERE ].


triangle Directions

  1. REVIEW the vocabulary.
  2. LISTEN to the audio.
  3. ANSWER the questions.
  4. CHECK your answers (Show Answers)

triangle Vocabulary

  • initially [adv] - at first
  • gin [n] - a type of alcohol
  • poke out [phv] - protrude
  • damp [adj] - a little wet
  • a note [n] - a paper
  • suspect [v] - guess
  • elaborate [adj] - complex
  • a hoax [n] - lie or deception
  • coordinates [n] - numbers indicating position
  • a vessel [n] - a ship or boat
  • corroborate [v] - confirm or prove
  • authenticate [v] - confirm or prove
  • the find [n] - the discovery
  • throw overboard [v] - throw off a ship into the water
  • ocean currents [n] - the movements of the ocean

[n] - noun,  [v] - verb,  [phv] - phrasal verb,  [adj] - adjective,  [exp] - expression

triangle Questions

  1. Where was the bottle found?
    West Germany

  2. What type of bottle was it?
    A German beer bottle
    A glass gin bottle
    A clay water bottle

  3. What was inside the bottle?
    A note

  4. What did the woman initially plan to do with the bottle?
    Send it to a museum
    Put it on her bookcase
    Throw it into the garbage

  5. How did the woman dry out the note?
    In the sun
    With a towel
    In her oven

  6. What language was the note written in?

  7. How old was the note?
    about 100 years old
    about 120 years old
    about 130 years old

  8. What was the name of the ship that the bottle came from?

  9. Where was the boat sailing?
    In the Indian Ocean
    Near Perth
    Close to Germany

  10. Why was the bottle thrown overboard?
    To ask for help
    To send a message to a nearby ship
    To track ocean currents

  11. What did the note inside say?
    "Send this note back to Hamburg."
    "This note comes from Hamburg."
    "This ship will go to Hamburg."

  12. Where will the bottle be kept?

triangle Script

What's thought to be the oldest message in a bottle yet found has been picked up on a beach in Western Australia. Howl Griffith in Sydney has the details.

Initially it seemed too good to be true. When Tonya Ullman discovered a glass gin bottle poking out of the sand with a damp note rolled up inside, she suspected an elaborate hoax. But she kept the bottle thinking it might look good on her bookcase

After drying out the paper noting in her roven, she then found a message written in German which appeared to be 132 years old. It gave the coordinates of a vessel named Paula, which had been sailing in the Indian Ocean nearly 600 miles away.

A little more detective work online and some help from the Museum of Western Australia helped to corroborate the details and authenticate the find. The ship had been en route from Cardiff to Indonesia. The bottle would have been thrown overboard by the crew as part of an experiment by the German Naval Observatory to track global ocean currents.

The note instructed the finder to send it back to Hamburg. The bottle will however stay in Australia and go on display in the museum in Perth.

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