The importance of underwater archaeological research
Ben RittSession #4 Underwater Survey 7/5/2012
3/4of Earth’s surface is water Water-borne transportation has allowed exploration of much of the globe and facilitated the rise and fall of great empires. Beneath the surface of our oceans, lakes, rivers, and wetlands lies a physical record of humankind ;shipwrecks, inundated cities, harbor works, and other traces of our past.
The majority of underwater archaeologists specialize in the study of nautical archaeology: the study of the construction and operation of all types historic watercraft.
Other types of sites in include inundated land sites; sinkholes or bogs where people placed offerings or buried their dead; cities and harbors now submerged by sea level change or earthquake; and dwelling, agricultural, and industrial sites along rivers, bays, and lakes.
Many laws and regulations require that sites be located, inventoried, and studied by qualified archaeologists before they are impacted or destroyed by development.
Often Submerged sites such as ship wrecks pose a danger to modern human endeavors; shipping lanes, seabed mining, commercial fishing, and oil and natural gas drilling can be affected by submerged cultural resources. Ship hulls can abrade and cut trans-oceanic cables, commercial fishing nets can become entangled endangering crews, and many other dangers to people can arise from submerged material culture.
Trans oceanic cable map Cable layer, $1.6 million
Studying where and how ships have wrecked in the past has lead to developments in safer marine navigation, with the placement of lighthouses, safety beacons, the marking of dangerous currents on nautical charts.
120 lead ingots recovered 20 years ago from a Roman shipwreck, 80 B.C. - 50 B.C. off the coast of Sardinia Stored at National Archaeological Museum in Cagliari, southern Sardinia. Over the past 2,000 years the lead has almost completely lost its natural radioactivity. It is therefore the perfect material with which to shield the CUORE (Cryogenic Underground Observatory for Rare Events) detector, which Italys National Institute of Nuclear Physics (INFN)
Lead ingots being Radiation shield for particlerecovered. detector made from the ingots.