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Archaeology & Anthropology => Underwater Archaeology => Topic started by: Artemis on February 17, 2007, 04:15:57 pm

Title: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 17, 2007, 04:15:57 pm
Ice Age sea levels have been said to be lower by about three hundred feet. Most of the ancients having built their communities by the water, most of those communities are now said to be underwater. The problem with some of the sites said to be manmade? They are underwater at a depth of thousands of feet, beyond all geological explanation. That's not to say that they aren't authentic, but that we need a better method of explaining, or, at the very least, explaining them away.

Underwater archaology is a relatively new science, and it has been said that we know less about the seas that surround us than about the universe itself. One of these places could still have been Atlantis, Lemuria or Mu.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 17, 2007, 04:17:15 pm
Here is a list of proposed underwater sites we should all feel free to examine, more to be added later:

Cuba (eastern side)
Underwater caves (or proposed Mayan origin)
Africa (west coast, off Morrocco)
Spartel (Gibralar)
Cyprus (Sarmast expeditions)
Canary Islands (underwater caves)
Eastern Atlantic (Russians' Ampere Seamounts)
Cornwall (Britain)
Bimini Road (Bahamas)
Andros Platform (Bahamas)

Everyone is invited to add whatever material they can find in terms of analysus, pictures, planned expeditions to, etc., as well as, of course add whatever other observations they might have.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Majeston on February 17, 2007, 07:28:42 pm
Here is a list of proposed underwater sites we should all feel free to examine, more to be added later:

Cuba (eastern side)
Underwater caves (or proposed Mayan origin)
Africa (west coast, off Morrocco)
Spartel (Gibralar)
Cyprus (Sarmast expeditions)
Canary Islands (underwater caves)
Eastern Atlantic (Russians' Ampere Seamounts)
Cornwall (Britain)
Bimini Road (Bahamas)
Andros Platform (Bahamas)

Everyone is invited to add whatever material they can find in terms of analysus, pictures, planned expeditions to, etc., as well as, of course add whatever other observations they might have.

Nice work Artemis,

You must add the research SEVENS has done on Dalimatia available on this site and AR;  off the coast of Baharain I believe and Kuwait.,282.0.html

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 05:59:48 am
Thanks, Majeston, I will check into it.  I believe that is where the Urantia Book locates the second Eden.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:00:43 am
Underwater archaeology is the study of past human life, behaviours and cultures using the physical remains found in salt or fresh water or buried beneath water-logged sediment. It is most often considered as a branch of maritime archaeology.

Underwater archaeological sites consist of wrecks (shipwrecks or aircraft), the remains of structures created in water (such as crannogs, bridges or harbours) or places where people once lived on land that have been subsequently covered by water due to rising sea levels or other phenomena.

Reasons for Archaeological Research Underwater
An individual shipwreck (such as the Titanic) can be of historical importance.
Shipwrecks (such as The Mary Rose) can also be important for archaeology because they can form a kind of accidental time capsule, preserving an assemblage of human artefacts at a moment in time i.e. when the ship was lost.
Materials are preserved differently under water than on dry sites on land. In anerobic, cold and dark conditions underneath waterlogged sediments, organics, such as plants, leather, fabric and wood may be preserved. These materials may still have evidence of how they were worked, such as tool marks on the surface of wood. This evidence can provide new insights into ancient crafts, cultures and lifestyles.
Changes in sea-level, because of local seismic events, or more widespread climatic or changes on a continental scale mean that some sites of human occupation that were once on dry land are now submerged.
Human societies have always made use of water; sometimes the remains of structures that these societies built underwater still exist (such as the foundations of crannogs, bridges and harbours) when traces on dry land have been lost.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:01:24 am
Challenges of Research on Underwater Sites

Underwater sites are inevitably difficult to access, and more hazardous, compared with working on dry land. In order to access the site directly, diving equipment and diving skills are necessary. The depths that can be accessed by divers, and the length of time available at depths, are limited. For deep sites beyond the reach of divers, submarines or remote sensing equipment are needed.
For a marine site, some form of working platform (typically a boat or ship) is needed. This creates logistics problems. A working platform for underwater archaeology needs to be equipped to provide for specialist remote sensing equipment, analysis of archaeological results, support for activities being undertaken in the water, storage of supplies, facilities for conservation for any items recovered from the water, as well as accommodation for workers.
Marine sites may be subject to strong tidal flows or poor weather which mean that the site is only accessible for a limited amount of time.
Underwater sites are often dynamic, that is they are subject to movement by currents, surf, storm damage or tidal flows. Structures may be unexpectedy uncovered, or buried beneath sediments. Over time, exposed structures will be eroded, broken up and scattered. The dynamic nature of the environment may make in-situ conservation infeasible, especially as exposed organics, such as the wood of a shipwreck, are likely to be consumed by marine organisms such as piddocks.
Underwater sites can be chemically active, with the result that iron can be leached from metal structures to form concretions. The original metal will be left in a fragile state.
Visibility may be poor, because of sediments or algae in the water and lack of light penetration. This means that the survey techniques that work well on land, generally can not be used effectively under water.
Equipment used for archaeological investigation, including water dredge and air lifts create additional hazards and logistics issues.
Artefacts recovered from underwater sites need special care.
Underwater sites do not provide good outreach possibilities and access for the general public.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:02:02 am
Techniques for Underwater Archaeological Research

An important aspect of project design is likely to be managing the logistics of operating from a boat and of managing diving operations. Archaeological techniques and equipment applicable to underwater sites include:

Position fixing. Marine sites are typically located using GPS. Historically, sites within sight of the shore would have been located using transects. A site may also be located by visual surveying some form of marker (such as a buoy) from two known (mapped) points on land.
Remote sensing. Sensitive sonar, especially side-scan sonar may be used to image an underwater site. Magnetometry can be used to locate metal remains such as metal shipwrecks, anchors and cannons. Sub-bottom profiling utilises multi-beam sonar to detect structures buried beneath sediment.
Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV). Where it is not practical or safe for divers to physically visit a site, video cameras can be steered from the surface.
3D survey[1]. Three dimensional surveying is typically undertaken using depth gauges and tape measurements.
Photography and Photomontage or Photomosaic. Cameras, including video cameras can be provided with special housings that enables them to be used underwater. A series of photographs can be taken at adjacent points and then combined into a single image of the whole site.
Underwater Excavation. Where intrusive excavation is appropriate, silts and sediments can be removed from an area of investigation using a water dredge or air lift. When used correctly, these devices have an additional benefit in tending to improve the visibility in the immediate vicinity of the investigation.
Scale drawing can be undertaken underwater. Pencils will write underwater on permatrace, plastic dive slates, or matt laminated paper.
Archaeological Science. Dendrochronology is an important technique for dating the timbers of wooden ships. It may also provide additional information, including the area where the timber was harvested (i.e. likely to be where the ship was built) and whether or not there are later repairs or reuse of salvaged materials. Because plant and animal material can be preserved underwater, archaeobotany and archaeozoology have roles in underwater archaeology. For example, identification of pollen samples from sedimentary or silt layers can provide information on the plants growing on surrounding land and hence on the nature of the landscape. Information about metal artefacts can be obtained through X-ray of concretions. Geology can provide insight into how the site evolved, including changes in sea-level, erosion by rivers and deposition by rivers or in the sea.
Conservation [2]. Artefacts recovered from underwater sites need stabilisation to manage the process of removal of water. The artefact either needs to be dried carefully, or the water replaced with some inert medium (as in the case of The Mary Rose). Artefacts recovered from salt water, particularly metals and glass need to be stabilised following absorption of salt or leaching of metals. In-situ conservation of underwater structures is possible, but consideration needs to be given to the dynamic nature of the site. Changes to the site during intrusive investigation or removal of artefacts may result in scouring which exposes the site.

Interpretation and Presentation of Underwater Archaeology
Diver trails can be used to allow scuba-divers to visit and understand archaeological sites that are suitable for scuba-diving. Otherwise presentation will typically rely on publication (book or journal articles, web-sites and electronic media such as CD-ROM). Television programmes can attempt to provide an understanding of underwater archaeology to a broad audience.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:02:52 am
History of underwater archaeology

Already during the time of Herodotus, the Greek historian, people were fascinated by past civilizations. During the Middle Ages in Europe there was a widespread belief in a Golden Age, when things supposedly had been much better. To those people, Ancient Rome and Greece represented that lost Golden Age.

Early salvage and diving
The interest in maritime finds was awoken by the find of the Nemi Ships in the 15th century. After that, very little happened until the invention of helmet diving in the early 19th century.

Using helmet divers the wreck of Royal George (1782) was salvaged around 1830, but not for archaeological reasons.

In 1836 the Dean brothers discovered the wreck of Mary Rose, and salvaged a few objects. Perhaps this is the first case of underwater investigations, made of historical interest. Also, in 1856 the submerged settlement in the Zürich Lake was investigated by divers and historians.

The diving archaeologist
During the following 70 years, many historic ships were salvaged (pillaged) by divers, but only for commercial reasons. The valuables were sold, and a museum would get the rusty iron cannon or minor objects such as Roman lead anchors. But there was no archaeological investigation.

The first systematic archaeological underwater investigation was probably the recovery of the Nemi Ships in 1929-32.

The first case of diving underwater archaeology may have been 1933-39 when the Swedish warship Elefanten (1564) was investigated by helmet divers together with historians.

The breakthrough came after World War II. Thanks to the scuba diving equipment developed by Emile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the underwater world became instantly accessible, and many new ancient wrecks were found at a rapid pace.

A pilot case for archaeology with scuba divers was the Grand Congloué wreck in France, investigated 1951-57 by Cousteau and Fernand Benoît. When the divers started digging down in the layers covered by sand, they first thought it was one wreck, while in fact it was two wreck on top of each other.

After the Grand Congloué, many underwater archaeology investigations have been made, by poineer archaeologists such as Nino Lamboglia, George F. Bass, Peter Throckmorton, and many others.

The methods have been improved – slowly and tediously even the smallest objects are recorded, as clues to our understanding of people from times past.

Even though Cousteau was not an archaeologist, he contributed immensely by promoting popular interest for underwater mysteries.

The future?
The problem is time and money. Underwater archaeology, like most aspects of education and culture, can never survive on a pure commercial basis.

Only a few sites can be investigated, while others are left untouched for the future. Leaving sites for the future is an excellent idea in theory. But in reality they risk being robbed by treasure hunters.

Should police and military be more vigilant watching heritage sites, on land and underwater?
Or can a site be investigated together with commercial interests, perhaps selling some of the objects?
That is the issue of today.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:03:47 am
Institutes, Organisations and Sites

Irish Institute of Hellenic Studies at Athens
American School of Classical Studies at Athens
Ecole Francaise d'Athenes
British School at Athens
Hellenic Ministry of Culture
Danish Institute at Athens
Austrian Archaeological Institute at Athens
French Ministry of Culture - DRASM
Institute of Nautical Archaeology http://ina.tamu.ed/
INA in Turkey
Archaeological News
Archaeology Magazine
Antiquity (Journal)
American journal of Archaeology
Classics on line
Perseus Digital Library

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:04:52 am
Employment in Underwater Archaeology

A useful link for those seeking employment in underwater archaeology or maritime history is

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:06:11 am
Greek and American scientists to continue successful joint deep-sea exploration project

The HCMR submersible Thetis is capable of dives to depths of 600 meters. (Image: HCMR)

The United States and Greece will continue their successful deep-sea exploration program in the summer of 2006. The project, part of a long-term partnership between Greek and American scientists and engineers, explores the deep-sea basins of Greece to locate, map and interpret ancient shipwrecks and geological and chemical features in three areas. American Ambassador to Athens Charles Ries is holding a dinner on Tuesday in honor of the team as well as to present the results of the partnership’s 2005 project. The program is jointly supported by the Greek Culture Ministry, the Ephorate of Underwater Activities, the Hellenic Center for Marine Research (HCMR), the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The precision surveys are carried out by the SeaBED (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, or AUV) developed by WHOI. The next mission, in summer 2006, will investigate a Byzantine-era shipwreck (c. 10th century AD) 110 meters below the surface, a Classical/Hellenistic wreck (c. fourth century BC) at a depth of 500 meters, an active submarine volcano and unexplored sea floor. The Greek and American partners each contribute equipment, funding and skilled personnel. Their goal is to find answers to fundamental questions about the sea and human interaction with it.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:08:35 am

The ship was beached and wrecked on the shores of the Straits of Magellan in Patagonia

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on February 18, 2007, 06:11:01 am
Nautical archaeologist has vision for exploring the past

Eagle Staff Writer

On Page D1 Sunday, a story about Jim Delgado taking over as executive director of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology at Texas A&M gave his age incorrectly. He is 48.

The online version of this story has been modified to reflect this information.

Jim Delgado remembers sitting in a dark, cold and cramped Russian submersible on his way to explore the Titanic shipwreck in 2000.

The 2 1/2-mile descent into the northern Atlantic Ocean took more than two hours, giving Delgado plenty of time to collect his thoughts before viewing the famous shipwreck.

But once the submersible's lights illuminated the massive hull, Delgado said he was in awe.


Special to The Eagle
The ship was beached and wrecked on the shores of the Straits of Magellan in Patagonia 
"Suddenly it's there," with orange, red and brown rust oozing down the side next to the enormous anchors, he said. "Nothing prepares you for what you see. The Titanic is a like a ghost town. It's like walking into an empty room with empty chairs, but you know what was said and done."

Delgado has countless stories about diving and exploring shipwrecks. And as a former host of the National Geographic show The Sea Hunters, he tells those stories with vivid imagery.

Now he wants to share them on a local and national stage.

Delgado, 48, is the new executive director of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, a nonprofit organization headquartered at Texas A&M University. Delgado, interviewed on campus last week during his first visit since joining the INA, officially started in July and will work primarily from his offices in Vancouver, Canada.

The main component of his job will be outreach and fund-raising, so his storytelling and warm personality will come in handy.

"I had my eye on him for years," said George Bass, one of the institute's founders and head of the INA Foundation. "He's one of the best public speakers I've ever heard. His enthusiasm is infectious. I've already seen him talk to some of our current sponsors, and the connection is already there."

The institute, founded in 1973, is considered the world's leading scientific and education organization dedicated to understanding the historical interaction between humans and the sea.

Much of its current work centers around shipwrecks near Bodrum, Turkey, that date back 3,500 years to the Bronze Age.

Delgado's archaeology and anthropology experience includes exploring the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, sunken ships at Bikini Atoll, and Mongolian ships from Kublai Kahn's fleet during a 1281 invasion of Japan.

He remembers the shipwrecks in detail. For instance, near one of those 13th century Mongolian ships was the skeleton of a soldier, probably 20 years old when he died.

In the murky waters of the Imari Gulf, Delgado described how he hovered above the remains and found a rice bowl with the name "Wang" in Chinese script.

"I remember thinking, 'Are you Wang?' Did you think it would come to this?' Perhaps he didn't have a clue because he was young, full of life and thought he was invincible, not realizing he'd end up face down in the mud for 700 years. As an anthropologist, I have a great deal of interest in the people stories.

click to zoom in
Special to The Eagle
Jim Delgado investigates the "tween" deck of the clipper ship Ambassador. 
"But as an archaeologist and scientist, I'm trained to be objective and thinking about what you can learn from this."

Bass said Delgado's extensive knowledge of maritime archaeology as well as contacts around the world make him a perfect fit as the organization's executive director.

Part of his outreach efforts, Delgado said, will include increasing the Institute of Nautical Archaeology's visibility.

As a former host of Sea Hunters, he said he has a good grasp on how to present the institution's stories.

"To be an archaeologist who also spent a fair amount of time in the media gives me a different perspective. I understand the need and importance to share these stories when people will ask, 'What is this? Why should I be interested?'"

Deep roots

Delgado's interest goes back to his childhood in California's Silicon Valley.

In the midst of the rapid development in the area, Delgado, then 14, happened across skeletons, arrowheads and stone tools that had been unearthed during mid-1960s construction.

He began collecting and recording his discovery and was soon joined by students from San Jose State University.

His interest turned to maritime archaeology in 1978, when he helped excavate the remains of Gold Rush-era ships and buildings near San Francisco's financial district.

"I just found it to be like magic," Delgado said. "Here's the ship just sitting there with all these well-preserved things in the mud. Shipwrecks are rare because they're somewhat like these encapsulated moments of time. For the most part, because they're not accessible to most people, they're not picked over."

Delgado spent the last 15 years working at the Vancouver Maritime Museum, where he served as its director.

Earlier in the year, Delgado wanted a career change and heard about the INA opening. He was pleased when Bass followed up.

Dream come true

"The INA and its nautical program are known throughout the world not only as pioneers in the field but as the people who do it best," Delgado said. "George Bass is considered the father of nautical archaeology. This is a dream come true to work here."

Besides working to increase the institute's visibility, Delgado plans to expand its operations with more projects.

That means finding additional funding from donors and sponsors, and Delgado expresses confidence that he can move the organization forward.

"I've been fortunate to be able to develop a large network of friends over the years. In a lot of ways I'll be an ambassador for INA."

• Greg Okuhara's e-mail address is

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: rockessence on March 25, 2007, 09:14:24 pm
A stone circle discovered through Google Earth?

Members of the German website Schottlandportal discovered with the help
of Google Earth two interesting submerged structures near Loch
Clickhimin, Shetland (Scotland). The most prominent of these structures
may be a stone circle, while the other looks like a causeway, both
dating back to Bronze Age. In ancient times the water level was probably
much lower, so these stone settings could have been built originally on
an isle.
     The German webmasters got in contact with Scottish archaeologists,
in order to make a closer check of the area, so to properly identify -
if present - those ancient remains.

Source: Schottlandportal (28 February 2007)


Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:05:26 am

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:11:08 am

In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town of Port Royal, Jamaica.  Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor, sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:12:39 am

In contrast to many archaeological sites, the investigation of Port Royal yielded much more than simply trash and discarded items.  An unusually large amount of perishable, organic artifacts were recovered, preserved in the oxygen-depleted underwater environment.

Together with the vast treasury of complimentary historical documents, the underwater excavations of Port Royal have allowed for a detailed reconstruction of everyday life in an English colonial port city of the late 17th century.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:14:10 am

The Port Royal Project concentrated for 10 years on the submerged 17th-century remains on Lime Street, near its intersection with Queen and High Streets in the commercial center of the town. At present, eight buildings have been investigated.  The work has resulted in a more detailed body of data on the buildings and their in situ artifacts than any previous excavations at Port Royal - on land or on under water.

The construction features of five of the investigated buildings exemplify the variety of architectural styles found in the city's center.  Some were well-built, multi-storied brick structures, while others were simple, earth-bound frame buildings, hastily erected, with no intention for them to last.  In several instances, a small core building was constructed, and then rooms were tacked on as needed, until the structure formed a complex.   Both brick and timber buildings have contributed significantly to our understanding of 17th-century town planning, architecture, diet, cooking activities, and other aspects of daily life.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:15:23 am

Excavated Areas of Old Port Royal Jamaica

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:16:08 am

Drawing courtesy of Oliver Cox (1984)
Each of the five fully investigated buildings has a compliment of records that pertain, in some way, either to the owners, occupants, or the makers of the associated artifacts:

BUILDING 1 -  A well-built brick building that consists of two construction phases and which has six ground-floor rooms divided into three separate two-room combinations.  These rooms were used as a probable pipe shop, a tavern, and a combination wood turner/cobbler's shop.

BUILDING 2 - A poorly preserved, frame building to the west of Building 1.  It has a plaster floor.

BUILDING 3 -This building, with its raised sills on a mortar foundation and interrupted floor sills at the corners and at major intersections, lies east of Building 1.  Its front rooms have plastered floors, and one room has a sand floor.

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:18:03 am


Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:19:04 am
BUILDING 4/5 - This, the final building that has been excavated thus far, is a large, rambling complex consisting of at least six rooms and three back yards.  The complex is approximately 65 ft. wide and over 40 ft. long and represents at least two, and possibly three, different houses or combination houses/shops.

This well-preserved brick building complex has plastered walls, brick floors, and wooden door sills.  The initial construction phase consisted of Rooms 1 and 2 and the sidewalk at the front of Building 5.  Room 1, the large room to the west, has a plaster floor, while the smaller Room 2 has a herringbone brick floor and a stairwell.  Rooms 3 and 4, which were added in a later construction phase, are tacked to the south of Room 2.  Their purpose may have been to join an exterior kitchen to the building, represented by Room 4.  Both back rooms have common bond brick floors, and Room 4 contains a large hearth and oven.

Building 4, which consists of at least two rooms, is located to the east of Building 5. It also has a hearth. The presence of half-brick-wide interior walls dividing Rooms 1 and 3 of Building 4 indicate a much less substantial, one-story building addition.  Horizontal displacements, seen most readily at the east end, in Room 3, have skewed the floor and walls several feet. 

Title: Re: Underwater Archaeology
Post by: Artemis on July 22, 2007, 03:20:08 am
Building 4/5 has produced more in situ artifacts than any building thus far excavated.  To the front of the building, in what would have been a part of Lime Street, a large section of a fallen wall was discovered.  This wall may have fallen out from Building 5 or from a building to the north.  It was in this area of the fallen exterior wall that we found the wooden frame of a four-partition window with leaded glass panes within a wrought-iron frame.  Numerous other artifacts were found in association with the building, including two sets of 28 Chinese porcelain Fo Dogs and a minimum of 28 Chinese porcelain cups and bowls.  Pewter plates, candlesticks, a brass mortar, an English tin-glazed vase, a decorated Dutch Delft plate, a gold ring, a pearl with a gold attachment, silver forks and spoons, and many encrusted metal objects that are awaiting identification, conservation, and analysis were found in the same area.

The remains of a young child was uncovered from under the bricks of the fallen front wall just outside of the two adjacent front doorways.  The remains of two more children were found in Rooms 3 and 4.  The remains of a ship, which ripped through the front walls and tore through the floors of the four rooms on the east side of the building complex, have also been identified.