Skip to comments.An Ocean of Data: The New Way to Find Sunken Treasure
Posted on 02/18/2012 5:51:57 AM PST by SunkenCiv
As much as Foley likes discovering shipwrecks -- he's found or helped find 26 in the past 14 years -- he doesn't much like spending time looking for them, at least not in the conventional ways. Rather than sending dive teams down to survey 1,000-foot transects one fin kick at a time, Foley prefers to use autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to survey huge tracts of seafloor. Where the robots don't work well, Foley sends down divers armed with closed-circuit rebreathers and thrusters, allowing them to cover more ground. He wants to go faster, he says, because he needs a lot more information. Maritime archaeologists can spend years on just a few sites, but for Foley's purposes, a solitary wreck is statistically weak -- nothing more than a few words from a greater conversation. To understand the entire conversation, maritime archaeologists must study many wrecks and identify patterns between them. Foley's model is not the soft science of digging and interpretation, but the hard science of high-throughput screening deployed by gene and drug researchers, who gather data at an industrial rate and analyze that data with powerful computers able to detect subtle patterns beyond the reach of ordinary analysis.
(Excerpt) Read more at popsci.com ...
Shipwrecks: Kevin Hand
Search Team The Alkyon, which provides an operations base for underwater robot searches, sails past Fort Koules on the Heraklion harbor. Courtesy Dimitris Sakellariou/Hellenic Center For Marine Research
Foley: Archaeologist Brendan Foley uses rebreathers to extend dive times to as long as three hours. Courtesy Giogos Koutsouflakis/Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
Robot Wranglers: Brendan Foley brought along a team of three engineers and had additional help from three Greek colleagues to manage the AUV operations off the coast of Crete. Brooke Borel
Into The Deep: Remus AUVs were originally developed to find naval mines. Courtesy Dimitris Sakellariou/Hellenic Center For Marine Research
Divers: In the warm waters of the Aegean Sea, timbers of ancient ships rot away, leaving only amphorae behind. Courtesy Theotokis Theodoulou/Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities
Underline: Sonar transducers on the sides of the Remus 100 cannot "see" directly beneath the AUV [dark area, above]. On the right are two ancient shipwrecks. Courtesy Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Chios Shipwreck Survey 2005: Courtesy EUA/WHOI/Hellenic Center For Marine Research
|GGG managers are SunkenCiv, StayAt HomeMother & Ernest_at_the_Beach|
Deep in the darkest hour of a very heavy week, I plan to do the Digest in a few minutes. :') I love long weekends, but that's not the reason I love Washington and Lincoln.
For profit or for fun?
“for profit” is a subset of “for fun”. :’)
Excellent news. Where do I submit my resume?
“and in so doing he could test his central hypothesis: that it was seaborne trade that enabled the spread of civilization in the Mediterranean Basin.”
I learned about that in 6th grade history class when “he” was in diapers.
You go to the trouble to find it and bring it up, the original owner gets it back - US Government, Spain, etc.
With cash-strapped countries everywhere, good luck keeping what they abandoned and you worked and risked your butt to raise.
Perhaps he prefers to bring up Etruscan, Phoenician, Assyrian, and Carthaginian treasures. I doubt that they have the lawyers needed to retrieve "their" sunken treasures.
Heck, I learned that when I was in diapers:)
I’d love to *be* this guy. I knew a guy from a Great Lakes outfit that teamed up with Cussler to do this kind of drone research of the lakebeds.
This may be a little off topic, but it set me to thinking.
A number of years ago (Columbus Voyage Anniversary?) the King of Spain announced that the entire records of the Archives of the Indies would be posted on the Internet as a database resource.
I searched and sure enough foung this site:
Haven’t had time to check it out for treasure ships sunk & lost, but I was wondering if anyone had heard of the database being used to locate a wreck.
Depends. The Arab government of Egypt is very protective of their antiquities -- stuff that predates the Arab-era in Egypt by thousands of years. It would be amusing if they weren't so darned aggressive about it.
Extrapolating on that, I could see the modern state of Libya getting fired up about Carthaginian artifacts. Same for Lebanon or Syria with the Phonecian stuff. Then of course you have the UN which just throws sand in the gears for everybody.
The Spanish archives helped in the identification of the Atocha — the gold bars had serial numbers, and each one was listed with weight on the manifest, which had survived and made it to the archives, even though the ship and the bars had gone down. In the 1970s there was a real worry among historians that the building (which was vintage) would burn, taking the archives with it. And of course now, the risk is, jihadists would set fire to it.
Thanks for the Ping! Love this kind of stuff!
I knew about Mel Fisher using the Archives to find the Atocha, but lots of folks don’t have the time and money to go to Spain for research.
I was wondering if anyone has used the internet Archive database to find a wreck yet. That would be so cool.
Sounds like a good technique to explore the continental shelves.
The commercial exploration of the shelves is in some ways more sophisticated, but not tailored to find this kind of stuff.
I presume you're referring primarily to oil and gas. Are you aware of any systematic effort to search for other "stuff" on say, OUR continental shelves? Seems odd to me that various governments, NGO's and even individuals are willing to drop some fairly large bucks looking for everything EXCEPT signs of old civilizations just offshore. Most such finds have been accidental discoveries made by fishing trawlers and the like. There almost HAS to be more down there so why isn't somebody looking for it? Or if they are, why don't I know about it??? ;^)
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