Abstract: In Poseidon's Realm: Underwater Archaeology in the Mediterranean

Lecturer: 

More than two thousand years ago, Greek and Roman professional divers, including both men and women, were diving to depths of more than 100 feet to recover art objects and other treasures from shipwreck sites.  Their modern successors have continued to explore the floor of the Mediterranean Sea for sunken ships, cargoes, harbors and other submerged structures.  Helmeted sponge divers made the most extraordinary discovery of all in 1900 at Antikythera, where they recovered the remains of an astronomical computer of bronze gears dating to the first century BC.  The world’s first scientific underwater excavation was conducted on the Mediterranean site of Cape Gelidonya in 1960, where George Bass led an archaeological expedition to a Bronze Age wreck.  Marine archaeologists now use scuba-gear, robotic devices such as ROVs (remote operated vehicles), bathyscaphs, sidescan sonar, magnetometers and other equipment, but many classical underwater sites still remain to be located, mapped, and excavated.  This lecture provides an overview of this important field, illustrates many of the most important art works recovered from the sea (including the famous bronze god from Artemision), and shows current technology in use during the Persian Wars Shipwreck Survey, in which John Hale participated as an archaeologist.

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