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Encyclopedia > Underwater archaeology

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. This article is about modern humans. ... Sea water is water from a sea or ocean. ... For the village on the Isle of Wight, see Freshwater, Isle of Wight. ... Sediment is any particulate matter that can be transported by fluid flow and which eventually is deposited as a layer of solid particles on the bed or bottom of a body of water or other liquid. ... Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline that studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of vessels, shore side facilities, cargoes, human remains and submerged landscapes. ...


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. An underwater scene just beneath the surface. ... Archaeology or sometimes in American English archeology (from the Greek words αρχαίος = ancient and λόγος = word/speech) is the study of human cultures through the recovery, documentation and analysis of material remains, including architecture, artefacts, biofacts, human remains, and landscapes. ... This list of shipwrecks is of those sunken ships whose remains have been located. ... Airbus A380 An aircraft is any machine capable of atmospheric flight. ... A crannog is the name given in Scotland and Ireland to an artificial island or natural island, used for a settlement and usually linked to shore with a timber gangway or stone causeway. ... This article is about the edifice. ... A harbor (or harbour) or haven is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. ... For considerations of sea level change, in particular rise associated with possible global warming, see sea level rise. ...

Drawing to scale, underwater
Drawing to scale, underwater

Contents

Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1704x2272, 534 KB) Summary Photo taken at snorkel depth by me at Stourhead June 17 2004 Viv Hamilton 21:04, 2 March 2006 (UTC) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify... Image File history File links Download high resolution version (1704x2272, 534 KB) Summary Photo taken at snorkel depth by me at Stourhead June 17 2004 Viv Hamilton 21:04, 2 March 2006 (UTC) Licensing I, the creator of this work, hereby grant the permission to copy, distribute and/or modify...


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.

A shipwreck is the remains of a ship after it has sunk or been beached as a result of a crisis at sea. ... RMS Titanic was a passenger liner that became infamous for its collision with an iceberg and dramatic sinking in 1912. ... Mary Rose depicted on the Anthony Roll, a survey of Henry VIIIs navy, completed in 1546 Mary Rose was an English carrack of 78 guns (91 guns after 1536), built in Portsmouth, England, in 1509–1510, thought to be named after King Henry VIIIs sister Mary and the... A time capsule is a historic cache of goods and/or information, usually intended as a method of communication with people in the future. ... I archaeology, an artifact or artefact is any object made or modified by a human culture, and often one later recovered by some archaeological endeavor. ... u fuck in ua ... Modern leather-working tools Leather is a material created through the tanning of hides, pelts and skins of animals, primarily cows. ... It has been suggested that Textile be merged into this article or section. ... A tree trunk as found at the Veluwe, The Netherlands Wood derives from woody plants, notably trees but also shrubs. ... Arts and crafts comprise a whole host of activities and hobbies that are related to making things with ones own hands and skill. ... The word culture comes from the Latin root colere (to inhabit, to cultivate, or to honor). ... // Definition Mean sea level (MSL) is the average height of the sea, with reference to a suitable reference surface. ... Seismology (from the Greek seismos = earthquake and logos = word) is the scientific study of earthquakes and the movement of waves through the Earth. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... A crannog is the name given in Scotland and Ireland to an artificial island or natural island, used for a settlement and usually linked to shore with a timber gangway or stone causeway. ... This article is about the edifice. ... A harbor (or harbour) or haven is a place where ships may shelter from the weather or are stored. ...

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.

The fundamental item of diving equipment used by divers is the SCUBA equipment, such as the Aqualung or Rebreather. ... Diver training is essential for safe diving. ... Scuba divers. ... USS Los Angeles A submarine is a specialized watercraft that can operate underwater. ... Synthetic aperture radar image of Death Valley colored using polarimetry In the broadest sense, remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object. ... Some boats in a harbor in Miami Beach, Florida A boat is a watercraft, usually smaller than most ships. ... Italian ship-rigged vessel Amerigo Vespucci in New York Harbor, 1976 A ship is a large, sea-going watercraft, usually with multiple decks. ... Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article is about tides in the ocean. ... A current is fluid flow, especially of water or air. ... Breaking waves at Childrens Pool, in La Jolla, CA A wave just before breaking at Manhattan Beach, CA Waves breaking on rocks Plunging wave or dumper forming a tube Ocean surface waves are surface waves which occur at the surface of an ocean. ... A rolling thundercloud over Enschede, Netherlands A storm is any disturbed state of a planets atmosphere, especially affecting its surface, and strongly implying severe weather. ... In-situ conservation means on-site conservation. It is the process of protecting an endangered plant or animal species in its natural habitat, either by protecting or cleaning up the habitat itself, or by defending the species from predators. ... A Piddock is a bivalve mollusk that bores into soft rock or other firm surfaces. ... A concretion is a solid mineral inclusion within a rock strata that is oval or spherical in shape. ... In meteorology, visibility is a measure of the distance that can be seen clearly at any given time. ... A seaweed (Laurencia) up close: the branches are multicellular and only about 1 mm thick. ... Warning signs, such as this one, can improve safety awareness. ... This article is about the archaeological concept of artifacts (or artefacts). ... Outreach is an effort by an organization or group to connect its ideas or practices to the efforts of other organizations, groups, specific audiences or the general public. ...

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: Look up Logistics in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ...

  • 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 or Marine Geophysics[1]. Sensitive sonar, especially side-scan sonar or multi-beam sonar[2] may be used to image an underwater site. Magnetometry[3] can be used to locate metal remains such as metal shipwrecks, anchors and cannons. Sub-bottom profiling[4] utilises 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[5]. Three dimensional surveying is typically undertaken using depth gauges and tape measurements. Research[6] shows that such measurements are typically less accurate than similar surveys on land.
  • 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 [7]. 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.

Position fixing is the branch of navigation concerned with the use of a variety of visual and electronic methods to determine the position of a ship, aircraft or person on the surface of the Earth. ... Over fifty GPS satellites such as this NAVSTAR have been launched since 1978. ... In navigation and position fixing, a transit occurs when a navigator observes two fixed reference points that are in line with the navigator. ... Position fixing is the branch of navigation concerned with the use of a variety of visual and electronic methods to determine the position of a ship, aircraft or person on the surface of the Earth. ... A sea lion on navigational buoy #14 in San Diego Harbor A buoy is a floating device that can have various purposes, which determine whether the buoy is anchored (stationary) or allowed to drift: The word is derived from the Dutch boei. In North American English it is pronounced as... Synthetic aperture radar image of Death Valley colored using polarimetry In the broadest sense, remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object. ... The F70 type frigates (here, La Motte-Picquet) are fitted with VDS (Variable Depth Sonar) type DUBV43 or DUBV43C tugged sonars SONAR (SOund Navigation And Ranging) â€” or sonar â€” (British ASDIC) is a technique that uses sound propagation under water to navigate or to detect other vessels. ... Diagram of sidescan sonar Side scan sonar (also sometimes called side-scan sonar, sidescan sonar, side looking sonar and side-looking sonar) is a category of sonar system that is used to efficiently create an image of large areas of the sea floor. ... A magnetometer is a scientific instrument used to measure the strength of magnetic fields. ... This list of shipwrecks is of those sunken ships whose remains have been located. ... For alternate meanings see anchor (disambiguation) The purpose of a ships or boats anchor is to attach the vessel to the ground at a specific point. ... For other uses, see Cannon (disambiguation). ... ROV at work in an underwater Oil& Gas field. ... Surveyor at work with a leveling instrument. ... A Depth Gauge is a device used to measure pressure and display the equivalent depth in water. ... Self-retracting pocket tape measure A tape measure or measuring tape is a ribbon of cloth, plastic, or metal with linear-measure markings, often in both imperial and metric units. ... Photography is the process of making pictures by means of the action of light. ... Artistic photomontage showing what a complete iceberg might look like under water Photomontage is the process (and result) of making a composite picture by cutting and joining a number of photographs. ... A camera is a device used to take images (usually photographs), either singly or in sequence, with or without sound, such as with video cameras. ... A video camera can be classified three ways: Professional video cameras, such as those used in television production; these may be studio-based or mobile Camcorders used by consumers and police; these are mobile Closed-circuit television used for surveillance; these are not mounted on vehicles This is a disambiguation... A writing slate is a piece of flat material used as a medium for writing. ... A laminate is a material constructed by uniting two or more layers of material together. ... Archaeological science (also known as Archaeometry) is the application of scientific techniques and methodologies to archaeology. ... Pinus taeda Cross section showing annual rings, Cheraw, South Carolina Pine stump showing growth rings Dendrochronology or tree-ring dating is the method of scientific dating based on the analysis of tree ring patterns. ... Paleoethnobotany, also known as archaeobotany in European (particularly British) academic circles, is the archaeological sub-field that studies plant remains from archaeological sites. ... Zooarchaeology is the study of animal remains from archaeological sites. ... SEM image of pollen grains from a variety of common plants: sunflower (Helianthus annuus), morning glory (Ipomoea purpurea), hollyhock (Sildalcea malviflora), lily (Lilium auratum), primrose (Oenothera fruticosa), and castor bean (Ricinus communis). ... In the NATO phonetic alphabet, X-ray represents the letter X. An X-ray picture (radiograph) taken by Röntgen An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength approximately in the range of 5 pm to 10 nanometers (corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 PHz... The Blue Marble: The famous photo of the Earth taken en route to the Moon by Apollo 17s Harrison Schmitt on December 7, 1972. ... Severe soil erosion in a wheat field near Washington State University, USA. Erosion is the displacement of solids (soil, mud, rock and other particles) by the agents of wind, water or ice, by downward or down-slope movement in response to gravity or by living organisms (in the case of... Deposition is a word used in many fields to describe different processes: In law, deposition is the taking of testimony outside of court. ... Mary Rose depicted on the Anthony Roll, a survey of Henry VIIIs navy, completed in 1546 Mary Rose was an English carrack of 78 guns (91 guns after 1536), built in Portsmouth, England, in 1509–1510, thought to be named after King Henry VIIIs sister Mary and the... Sea water is water from a sea or ocean. ... For alternative meanings see metal (disambiguation). ... Glass can be made transparent and flat, or into other shapes and colours as shown in this ball from the Verrerie of Brehat in Brittany. ... It is a process for the removal of oil, sizing, dirt, grease, and swint from fabrics. ...

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. A journal (through French from late Latin diurnalis, daily) has several related meanings: a daily record of events or business; a private journal is usually referred to as a diary. ...


See also

Maritime archaeology (also known as marine archaeology) is a discipline that studies human interaction with the sea, lakes and rivers through the study of vessels, shore side facilities, cargoes, human remains and submerged landscapes. ... The Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) is a charity registered in England and is a company limited by guarantee. ... Wreck diving is a type of recreational diving where shipwrecks are explored. ...

External links

Techniques

  • Marine Geophysics
  • Multibeam sonar
  • Magnetometry
  • Sub-bottom profiling
  • Resource for 3D survey
  • An Assessment of Quality in Underwater Archaeological Surveys Using Tape Measurements, P Holt IJNA Volume 32, 2003
  • Basic Methods of Conserving Underwater Archaeological Material Culture

The Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) is a charity registered in England and is a company limited by guarantee. ...

General references and organisations involved in underwater archaeology


  Results from FactBites:
 
Underwater Archaeology (187 words)
Underwater archaeology frequently deals with, but is not limited to, historic period shipwrecks.
Underwater archaeology has great potential to contribute to our understanding of the prehistoric as well as the historic occupation of California.
The underwater parks program was established in 1968 to preserve the best representative examples of California's natural underwater resources found in coastal and inland waters.
Underwater archaeology - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (1215 words)
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.
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.
Because plant and animal material can be preserved underwater, archaeobotany and archaeozoology have roles in underwater archaeology.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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