Deep Sea Archaeology
This is too cool...
Exploring the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean with Robert Ballard
"Support for this complex science and technology program is being provided by a number of sponsors. The Office of Naval Research has focused its support on the development of HERCULES and its support technology. HERCULES is the first vehicle ever developed for undersea archaeological excavations and employs a number of advanced optical and acoustic imaging systems as well as a sophisticated force-feedback manipulator.
The National Science Foundation is interested in supporting our newly emerging field of deep sea archaeology. In particular NSF is interested in the work being carried out in the Black Sea and its shallow undersea terrain which may contain information about early human habitation prior to its flooding 7500 years ago.
NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration is also interested in the exploration of the Black Sea, most importantly, the exploration of its deeper anoxic waters where highly preserved ships are known to be. In addition, NOAA is interested in the development and use of our new ship to shore command control technology.
Shelby White and Leon Levy are major sponsors of our Eastern Mediterranean program with particular interest in the two Phoenician ships we first discovered in 2000 and mapped in collaboration with Dr. Larry Stager of Harvard University.
The National Geographic Society's Expeditions Council is participating in and helping to support all aspects of the Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean program, but is most interested in the Phoenician shipwreck program and the initial phase of a long term investigation of the offshore region of Egypt in search of some of oldest shipwrecks in the world."
Deep submergence technology
Deep sea expeditions
That reminds me of the huge lake that is frozen near russia (or alaska)... a russian guard tower of some sort was builty on it (not knowing it was a frozen lake, untill satelites showed that it was a huge flat area with amazingly thick ICE)... they found a form of life under the ice (where they then found a lake), although they said it was impossible for anything to live down there... rather interesting.
Nice thread though, Ill definatly read into this.
Haven't heard about that one, but there is a lake under the Antarctic ice sheet called Vostok. They have been haggling over how to analyze what is down there, because to drill through the ice to get to the water would contaminate the lake (the oil for the drill, etc.). There has been talk of sending cryobots to collect samples.
http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/New...081115317.html More about Vostok...
"A team of scientists that recently investigated the levels of dissolved gases in the remote Antarctic lake found the concentrations of gas in the lake water were much higher than expected, measuring 2.65 quarts (2.5 liters) of nitrogen and oxygen per 2.2 pounds (1 kilogram) of water. According to scientists, this high ratio of gases trapped under the ice will cause a gas-driven "fizz" when the water is released. "
Vostok is freshwater, but Lake Vida (also under the Antarctic ice sheet) is salty
Pretty exciting stuff...
Dec. 9, 2003 news release I found on eurekalert
New Hybrid Vehicle Will Enable US Scientists
to Reach Deepest Parts of the World Ocean Floor
Pretty flimsy tether 1/30nd inch diameter. Okay that comes into play at about 3,300 feet (1,000 m) deep...and is for communication with the ship. Wow, it can pay out up to 11 miles of microfiber cable... I wonder if seaweed and other debris might make reeling that in a problem...Well it gets recovered from the heavy cable tether end, not the HROV end
They will not only be able to access the deepest parts of the ocean, but also under the Arctic ice pack. I am sure there will be interesting things there.
Amazing.... click this link to see the USS Yorktown, which was torpedoed by the Japanese during WWII and currently resides at 16,650 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean.
Unfortunately, though, when most people think of "underwater archaeology," they immediately think "sunken treasure."
Here's an article that is interesting, but exemplifies the sunken treasure thing: http://famulus.msnbc.com/FamulusIntl...asp?reg=EUROPE
I think there is still a lot of headway to be made to separate the "treasure seekers" from the archaeologists. The Earth is covered with around 70% water and much of it has been navigated throughout history. Some of the best archaeological records can be found, particularly in the anoxic environments of the Black Sea and even in the Baltic, since there is less intervention by humans with development etc. Fishing, bridge building, pipelines etc. offer ways of destroying the archaeological record, but there isn't near the human influence under the sea as above it.
Good thread NileQueen! :D
If anyone makes a religious arguement out of it, I'll delete their post! ;)
Okay I was a little confused, as I have been on board the USS Yorktown, and it was floating. So I've discovered that there were more than one. The first one sank (CV-5)at Midway, that's the picture you've linked to.
The second one can be seen in South Carolina It is CV-10, The Fighting Lady. There is also a WWII Destroyer and Submarine at that Museum.
Not all archaeology is "Deep Sea." There is quite a bit that has to do with what was once above the sea, but is now submerged. This is the type of underwater archaeology that fascinates me the most.
Here's a link to a photograph and a story that accomanies, which depicts an archaeologist sketching an artifact (in this case, a human skull) while underwater in a particular type of cave known as a cenote.
These caves are thought to have been formed as result of the K-T astroid event 65 million years ago (there's considerable evidence to support it) and were both filled with water and partially exposed approximately 10k years ago.
Mayans were known to partake in human sacrifice, and use the cenotes as a means of offering sacrifices to the gods. In addition, some of the cenotes were also used as funeraires as well as sacrifices (which was determined by examining the manner in which the bodies were deposited).
One of the most fascinating aspects of this type of underwate archaeology is looking at the way past civilizations lived in relatively undisturbed environments. The melting of the glaciers caused the sea levels to rise, submerging low-lying areas near the seas. Much of the archaeological record has been destroyed by years of exposure to sea water, but there is still plenty to be found.
Check out the October 2003 issue of National Geographic for the full story and some better pictures of Arturo Gonzalez (the archaeologist) at work in the cenotes along with his team. Note the grid frames used in recording the precise location and position of each artifact prior to its excavation.
Real archaeology is not snatch and grab then take it to the museum like in Indiana Jones. :cool:
Cenotes et al
"Sacred Well of Chichen-Itza
Cenotes are natural, water-filled limestone sinkholes existing mainly in the Mayan zone of southeastern Mexico. In the past, cenotes were used as sources of fresh water and as sacred sites whre offerings to the gods were thrown or deposited. The Cenote of Chichen Itza, also called the Sacred Well, is considered the most important in the area. It is about 400 m north of the main plaza of Chichen-Itza, and ancient Mayan religious center in the northwestern part of the peninsula of Yucatan. The well is connected to the plaza by a saché, or white path, a typical Mayan road.
The first time someone tried to recover objects at the bottom of the 14-m deep cenote was in 1882. French antiquarian Desiré Charnay used a dredge, but he was not successful. Then in 1894, Edward Herbert Thompson, the first United States consul in Yucatan, bought the Hacienda of Chichen Itza, which included Mayan ruins and the cenote, for a small amount of money. Like Charnay, he used a dredge to try to retrieve artifacts. Between 1904 and 1907, he recovered many significant archaeological artifacts. From 1910 to 1911, he hired U.S. helmet divers, but low visibility prevented their success, so Thompson went back to the dredge system. Most of the recovered pieces were taken to the Peabody Museum at Harvard University and to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago.
Material recovered by Thompson included jade figurines, stone sculptures, gold and copper disks, copal ( a pre-Hispanic resin used as incense), human bones, fragments of textile, and assorted artifacts made of metal, obsidian, wood, bone, stone, gold, and rubber.
It was not until 1960-61 that the first official recovery work took place, with the participation of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) through archaeologist Roman Pina Chan, Club de Exploraciones y Deportes Acuaticos de México (CEDAM), National Geographical Society, and Norman Scott, a professional diver. The group used an airlift and worked for several months, until INAH cancelled the work: Many objects broke as they passed through the airlift, and proper stratigraphical data was not being obtained. The last field season took place 1967-1968. INAH, CEDAM, and Expeditions Unlimited, Inc., worked almost three months, lowering the water level 4 m and using chemicals to increase visibility. Again divers used an airlift.
Among the pieces recovered were five sculpted stone jaguars, snake-shaped stones, gold and copper bells, jade beads, turquoise fragments, wooden benches and buckets, about 100 ceramic vases and bowls of different sizes and eras, small objects made of shell and obsidian, and animal and human bones. Many of these reside at the National Museum of Anthropology in Mexico City.
X-Coton, X-Lacah, and Agua Azul Cenotes
Between 1952 and 1968, American specialists worked in these three cenotes in southeastern Mexico, two in Yucatan and one in Chiapas, andn recovered many artifacts and shards. It was confirmed that these sacred sites were where the Mayas made offerings to Chaac, their god of rain. In 1970, a year after American reseracher Stephan F. de Borhegyi died, Mexican archaeologist Roberto Gallegos continued recoveries in Agua Azul Cenote, in Chinkultic. The X-Coton project included mapping and stratigraphical studies. The other two works consisted only of the recovery of objects.
The Nevado of Toluca
The Nevado of Toluca, is the fourth highest mountain in Mexico. At its peak are two lagoons which have been popular sites for high-altitude sport divers. The Sun Lagoon is 400 x 200 m, and the Moon Lagoon is 200 x 75 m, wiht a depth of 14 m; both are 4200 m above sea level. The first dives were made in 1954-1955.
The most recovered objects from these lagoons were ceramic vases, spheres and cones made o fcopal (incense) and pieces of wood sculpted in the shape of rays. Copal and rays were used for ceremonial purposes."
Interesting questions and answers at this site...
I recently attended the Titanic exhibition at London's Science Museum. One of the exhibits informed me that great care had to be taken when bringing cast-iron objects to the surface from 4 kilometres down on the seabed, because when they emerge from the water they can explode. Why do these objects do this and how is the problem counteracted?
Thomas Theakston , Warlingham, Surrey, UK
There are several phenomena involved. One is that cast iron invariably contains small gas cavities or blowholes that are formed well beneath its surface. Another is that it has quite low ductility, and will fracture rather than deform. Thirdly, it is a very heterogeneous material, containing about 4.5 per cent carbon and significant amounts of silicon and manganese, together with phosphorus and sulphur. The principal phases that are present are graphite, argentite and ferrite.
When immersed in an electrolyte such as seawater, electrolytic corrosion starts up at the surface of the casting. One of the products of this corrosion is hydrogen in an ionic or atomic state. In this state it can diffuse through the ferrite lattice and find its way to the gas cavities. There it re-forms as molecular hydrogen, increasing the pressure in the cavities.
Because this electrolytic process takes place at great depth and pressure, the pressure build-up in the gas cavities reaches equilibrium with the external water pressure. Raising the cast-iron object from the deep seabed removes the external pressure on the iron, so the gas in the cavities creates very high stresses. At best, the iron will develop cracks. At worst, the casting will shatter.
C. C. Hanson , Farnham St Martin, Suffolk, UK
University of Colorado archaeologist, colleagues hot on the trail of ancient Persian warships 4-Feb-2004
Most useful research tool an octopus
An international research team including a University of Colorado at Boulder professor has mounted a deep-water search off the northern coast of Greece in search of a fleet of Persian warships presumed lost in a massive ocean storm in 492 B.C.
The armada of warships is believed to have been sent by Persian King Darius to invade Greece, according to ancient historical accounts. The research team included more than a dozen Greek, Canadian, American and Finnish scholars.
The project is being conducted in the seas off the Mt. Athos peninsula. "This survey is the first one where scholars have searched for fleets of ancient ships using an historical source--in this case the writings of Herodotus," said CU-Boulder History Professor Hohlfelder, a senior maritime archaeologist on the project.
Herodotus, a Greek historian who lived from 485 to 430 B.C., is often called "The Father of History." His extensive writings include a report that in 492 B.C., nearly 300 ships and more than 20,000 men perished in a severe storm off Mt. Athos.
The event was said to cause Persian King Xerxes to cut a canal through the narrowest part of Mt. Athos prior to his 480 B.C. invasion of Greece to avoid the need to round the peninsula in the Aegean Sea, said Hohlfelder.
We were a high-tech operation, but our most useful research tool turned out to be the octopuses that lived in these waters," said Hohlfelder. One octopus living in a ceramic pot 300 feet down had dragged broken pieces of pottery, stones and a bronze spear point with part of the wooden shaft still intact into the entrance of its home.
"Happily for marine archaeologists, these animals love to collect antiquities and pull them into their homes. "Very often the first clue that a shipwreck is nearby is a pile of artifacts collected by these wonderful creatures with an antiquarian's passion for old things."
Hey, great newsbit NileQueen!
I'm taking an Archaeology of Greece class this semester, so the link might come in handy! :cool:
I've been to the Mystic Acquarium and part of it is devoted to Robert Ballard. I saw the stuff in there about his Black Sea and Eastern Mediterranean studies, and it was pretty cool. I have a feeling there's an oceanographical institute in his name there somewhere. That or a museum. Would be cool to check out if it existed.
Philocleon, I have a Robert Ballard autographed picture (I like autographed pictures ;) ) I think he primarily works out of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute.
Yes, he does work out of there. He also founded the Institute for Exploration, which is the institute I mentioned. I didn't take much pictures, but here they are.
Just click on the Unfiled Photos folder. Tour starts after the picture of that statue dude.
Philocleon, I'm afraid yahoo is not letting me see your pictures.
Crud. Guess I'll have to image tag them and see of they work.
Ok, i finally fixed the settings. The photos are now public. Now everyone can enjoy them! Oh, and NQ,
Philocleon: "Don't forget he is also called The Father of LIES."
So what's THAT all about? I've got his book, but haven't read it yet.
Okay I see the pictures now. Thanks. Good picture of Hell. I recently got a postcard from there, but it didn't show the terrain. That looks volcanic.
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