Archaeological Oceanography

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Overview

"Archaeological Oceanography is a must-have book for anyone interested in this emerging field. Never has there been a collection of articles as comprehensive as this one. For the first time in a single source are authoritative articles on the technology, field techniques, and even the preservation of these irreplaceable deep-water cultural resources with discussions on ways to bring them to the public's eye. The contributors are experts in their fields and present readable, data-packed overviews. The book will be the standard for many years to come."—Donny Hamilton, Texas A&M University

"An excellent and accessible introduction to the work that Robert Ballard and his colleagues have done in the pioneering field of archaeology in the deep sea. This challenging new domain requires a mix of oceanography, archaeology, and engineering, and this volume shows how the best research seamlessly interweaves the three. A must-read for anyone interested in exploring our sunken past."—David Mindell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

"A significant and major contribution. This is a valuable work that will have relevance and importance to professional audiences in the fields of oceanography, deep-sea technology, and public policy in regard to ocean science, robotics, and various subdisciplines of archaeology. This work will be viewed as an essential read, and will become the standard reference."—James P. Delgado, executive director of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology

"This book addresses a subject of very widespread interest among the general public as well as for professional archaeologists and oceanographers. Moreover, the authors are all firsthand experts with considerable experience in the subject matter they describe and discuss."—Patty Jo Watson, professor emerita, Washington University in St. Louis

"There is nothing else like this book. Dr. Ballard and his coauthors have led the way in exploring deep shipwrecks. They are the world leaders in deepwater archaeology. Their credentials are unquestioned. The book will be a significant contribution to the field."—George F. Bass, professor emeritus, Texas A&M University

"There is no doubt that when it comes to the investigation of very deepwater sites, this group has been at the forefront of the technological developments to prospect for and then map such archaeology. A very useful anthology of their work."—Justin Dix, University of Southampton

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Editorial Reviews

Underwater Technology
[I]t is a great synergy of the work by Ballard and his associated teams. It should enthuse students of the subject and lead them down the path to further research, and it also has a great deal to say to the casual reader who would like to be better informed about the iconic discoveries described and how them came about.
— Garry Momber
Journal of Archaeological Science - Ingrid Ward and Piers Larcombe
[W]e welcome the book as another step towards marine archaeology becoming integrated into the variety of other oceanographic sciences being used to study the marine environment.
Journal of Field Archaeology - Richard A. Gould
This wide-ranging book will do much to inform researchers and the public about the more innovative uses of some remarkable new technologies in underwater archaeology. Many of the concepts discussed in this book can be developed further, but it is already clear that underwater archaeology is becoming established as an historical science.
Choice - N.T. Richards
This timely and beautifully produced volume is the first to explicitly explore the examination of the residues of human activity now in the deep ocean. . . . Famed oceanographer and Titanic wreckage discoverer Ballard also offers great case studies from many famous deep-water finds (Titanic, Bismarck, Lusitania, WW II-era shipwrecks of Guadalcanal and Midway, and JFK's PT-109), as well as less well-known ancient shipwrecks such as the Skerki Bank, Ashkelon, and Black Sea sites.
Underwater Technology - Garry Momber
[I]t is a great synergy of the work by Ballard and his associated teams. It should enthuse students of the subject and lead them down the path to further research, and it also has a great deal to say to the casual reader who would like to be better informed about the iconic discoveries described and how them came about.
From the Publisher
One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 2009

"[W]e welcome the book as another step towards marine archaeology becoming integrated into the variety of other oceanographic sciences being used to study the marine environment."—Ingrid Ward and Piers Larcombe, Journal of Archaeological Science

"This wide-ranging book will do much to inform researchers and the public about the more innovative uses of some remarkable new technologies in underwater archaeology. Many of the concepts discussed in this book can be developed further, but it is already clear that underwater archaeology is becoming established as an historical science."—Richard A. Gould, Journal of Field Archaeology

"This timely and beautifully produced volume is the first to explicitly explore the examination of the residues of human activity now in the deep ocean. . . . Famed oceanographer and Titanic wreckage discoverer Ballard also offers great case studies from many famous deep-water finds (Titanic, Bismarck, Lusitania, WW II-era shipwrecks of Guadalcanal and Midway, and JFK's PT-109), as well as less well-known ancient shipwrecks such as the Skerki Bank, Ashkelon, and Black Sea sites."—N.T. Richards, Choice

"[I]t is a great synergy of the work by Ballard and his associated teams. It should enthuse students of the subject and lead them down the path to further research, and it also has a great deal to say to the casual reader who would like to be better informed about the iconic discoveries described and how them came about."—Garry Momber, Underwater Technology

Journal of Archaeological Science
[W]e welcome the book as another step towards marine archaeology becoming integrated into the variety of other oceanographic sciences being used to study the marine environment.
— Ingrid Ward and Piers Larcombe
Journal of Field Archaeology
This wide-ranging book will do much to inform researchers and the public about the more innovative uses of some remarkable new technologies in underwater archaeology. Many of the concepts discussed in this book can be developed further, but it is already clear that underwater archaeology is becoming established as an historical science.
— Richard A. Gould
Choice
This timely and beautifully produced volume is the first to explicitly explore the examination of the residues of human activity now in the deep ocean. . . . Famed oceanographer and Titanic wreckage discoverer Ballard also offers great case studies from many famous deep-water finds (Titanic, Bismarck, Lusitania, WW II-era shipwrecks of Guadalcanal and Midway, and JFK's PT-109), as well as less well-known ancient shipwrecks such as the Skerki Bank, Ashkelon, and Black Sea sites.
— N.T. Richards
Choice
This timely and beautifully produced volume is the first to explicitly explore the examination of the residues of human activity now in the deep ocean. . . . Famed oceanographer and Titanic wreckage discoverer Ballard also offers great case studies from many famous deep-water finds (Titanic, Bismarck, Lusitania, WW II-era shipwrecks of Guadalcanal and Midway, and JFK's PT-109), as well as less well-known ancient shipwrecks such as the Skerki Bank, Ashkelon, and Black Sea sites.
— N.T. Richards
Publishers Weekly
The sea floor contains thousands of shipwreck sites, many of them dating to the earliest eras of seafaring, and archeological oceanography is an emerging field, spurred by new and developing technology, that's plumbing the depths (technically 300 feet and below, where scuba divers fear to fin) to explore them. Detailing research excursions from the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Conn., and the Institute for Archaeology Oceanography at the Univ. of Rhode Island, shipwreck sites include the Mediterranean and the Black Sea, as well as the Titanic and the Bismarck. In 18 chapters, written by different specialists, the book covers five areas. Part one is a lucid tutorial in technology and techniques, including excavation technology and site conservation procedures. Parts two and three discuss the examination of modern and ancient shipwrecks. Part four describes the study of submerged landscapes occupied by humans at the end of the last ice age, and part five is devoted to Ballard's particular goal of developing remotely operated seafloor observatories, allowing real-time site observation by researchers and students. Theoretical material is shown in clear diagrams, and crisp photographs show underwater "in situ" placements of artifacts. Although highly suitable for a college-level class, this volume makes an informative resource for anyone interested in cutting edge archaeology.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691129402
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 7/1/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 296
  • Sales rank: 1,116,133
  • Product dimensions: 8.10 (w) x 10.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert D. Ballard, one of the world's foremost deep-sea explorers, is perhaps best known for his discovery of the wreckage of the Titanic in 1985. He is president of the Institute for Exploration in Mystic, Connecticut, and professor of oceanography and director of the Institute for Archaeological Oceanography at the University of Rhode Island. His many books include "The Eternal Darkness: A Personal History of Deep-Sea Exploration" (Princeton).

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Read an Excerpt

Archaeological Oceanography
Princeton University Press
Copyright © 2008
Princeton University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-691-12940-2


Introduction Robert D. Ballard

Why the title Archaeological oceanography? Why not Marine Archaeology or Nautical Archaeology or oceanographic Archaeology? Good question.

The ocean covers 72% of the earth's surface, with an average depth of 4000 m. Since the early 1950s and before, archaeologists have been discovering, exploring, mapping, and excavating ancient shipwrecks beneath the sea. The depths they have been working at, however, are shallow by oceanographic standards, restricted until recently to the inner portions of the continental margins, to depths of less than 100 m. The choice has been ambient diving techniques, particularly the use of self-contained underwater breathing apparatus, or scuba.

Until recently, it was widely believed that the ancient mariner hugged the coastline, seldom venturing into the open waters of the world's oceans. But recent discoveries in deep water far from shore have shown that many ancient mariners were either driven out to sea by storms before sinking or chose for a variety of reasons to take the shortest routes from one destination to the next.

Not only are there many ancient shipwrecks to be found in the deep sea, but various conditions result in those shipwrecks being well preserved. These factors include total darkness, cold temperatures, low rates of sedimentation, and limitedhuman activity, since fishing and diving rarely occur in such remote regions of the world. Ships sink in the deep sea generally due to storm action, which leads to them being swamped instead of striking the bottom, which frequently can tear their hulls open. Deep-water shipwrecks tend to sink in an upright position, coming to rest in a low-energy environment instead of being further damaged in shallow water during subsequent storm periods.

Another critical factor leading to their preservation is the thick layers of soft mud into which they settle when reaching the bottom. Deep-sea sediments commonly consist of fine-grained clay that is saturated with salt water. As a result, shipwrecks sinking into such a bottom commonly come to rest with their main deck near the bottom/water interface. Since deep-sea mud quickly becomes anoxic, the majority of a shipwreck and its contents, including its human occupants, are thrust into highly preserving anoxic conditions minutes after sinking.

Although this is all interesting, let us return to the question of the title: Archaeological oceanography. Oceanography, like marine archaeology, is a relatively new field of research, a child of the 20th century. Unlike marine archaeology, oceanography is expensive and reliant upon costly resources, such as large research ships, submersibles, and advanced undersea vehicles, including remotely operated vehicles. It is not uncommon for an oceanographic expedition to cost $30,000 to $40,000 a day. As a result, one month at sea can cost $1 million.

To the world of marine archaeology this is prohibitively expensive and even more so when compared to archaeological programs carried out on land. If one were to use these comparisons in making decisions regarding the allocation of scarce resources, the shipwrecks of the deep sea would never be studied-that is, if you expect the traditional archaeological community and its traditional sources of funding to finance work in the deep sea. But that need not be the case since there is no reason why archaeological oceanography could not be supported by the same sources of funding that support other fields of oceanographic research.

It is important to point out that oceanography is not a separate discipline such as physics, chemistry, or geology. It is an arena in which these disciplines work, bonded together by common needs such as the need for unique facilities that are required to carry out these separate lines of research. It is common for these various disciplines to work together on oceanographic field programs, no different than multidisciplinary programs carried out on land or in outer space. Oceanographers come from all fields of research in the physical and engineering sciences, fields of research that could easily be expanded to include the social sciences of maritime history, archaeology, and anthropology.

More importantly, it is a young enough science to be inclusive, commonly accepting new disciplines into its fold. The history of marine geology is an excellent example. It started in the 1930s and was dominated by sedimentologists concentrating on the continental margins of the world. But the evolving theory of plate tectonics in the 1960s took the earth sciences into the deeper ocean basins, bringing in petrologists, volcanologists, and structural geologists. The discovery of hydrothermal vents on the Mid-Ocean Ridge in 1977 saw an influx of chemists, geochemists, and a broad range of biologists entering the field, placing increasing demands on access to the expensive tools of oceanography.

When we first began to discover ancient shipwrecks in the central Mediterranean Sea in 1988, it was thought to be a rare occurrence. But in subsequent years, as this book documents, more and more ancient shipwrecks were discovered in other deep-water locations. More recently, professional salvage companies have obtained the necessary technology to carry out commercial recovery programs.

It has become increasingly clear that the deep sea can be of great importance to the social fields of archaeology, anthropology, history, and art, to name a few. But how can this interest turn into a meaningful and viable research program?

The term "archaeological oceanography" sounds like the former is subordinate to the latter but that is not the case. A geological oceanographer is a geologist working in the ocean. An archaeological oceanographer is an archaeologist working in the ocean as well.

It is encouraging to see the willingness on the part of the leadership of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Ocean Exploration Program to support this budding field of archaeological oceanography and our only hope is that other federal funding agencies that support oceanography will follow suit.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Archaeological Oceanography
Copyright © 2008 by Princeton University Press . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction ix

PART ONE: The Technology and Techniques of Archaeological Oc eanography
Chapter 1: Oceanographic Methods for Underwater Archaeological Surveys by D. F. Coleman and R. D. Ballard 3
Chapter 2: The Development of Towed Optical and Acoustical Vehicle Systems and Remotely Operated Vehicles in Support of Archaeological Oceanography by J. B. Newman, T. S. Gregory, and J. Howland 15
Chapter 3: High-resolution Optical Imaging for Deep-water Archaeology by H. Singh, C. Roman, O. Pizarro, B. Foley, R. Eustice, and A. Can 30
Chapter 4: The Development of Excavation Technology for Remotely Operated Vehicles by S. Webster 41
Chapter 5: Conservation of Archaeological Finds from Deep-water Wreck Sites by D. Piechota and C. Giangrande 65

PART TWO: Contemporary Shipwrecks in the Deep Sea
Chapter 6: The Search for Contemporary Shipwrecks in the Deep Sea: Lessons Learned by R. D. Ballard 95

Part Three Deep-water Shipwrecks in the Mediterranean and Black Seas
Chapter 7: Searching for Ancient Shipwrecks in the Deep Sea by R. D. Ballard 131
Chapter 8: The Remote Exploration and Archaeological Survey of Four Byzantine Ships in the Black Sea by C. Ward and R. Horlings 148

PART FOUR: Submerged Landscape Archaeology
Chapter 9: Archaeological and Geological Oceanography of Inundated Coastal Landscapes: An Introduction by D. F. Coleman 177
10. Underwater Prehistoric Archaeological Potential on the Southern New England Continental Shelf off Block Island 200 D. F. Coleman and K. McBride
Chapter 11: Sinkholes in Lake Huron and the Possibility for Early Human Occupation on the Submerged Great Lakes Shelf by D. F. Coleman 224

PART FIVE: Telepresence and Submerged Cultural Sites
Chapter 12: Long-term Preservation and Telepresence Visitation of Cultural Sites beneath the Sea by R. D. Ballard and M. J. Durbin 249

Glossary 263 List of Contributors 275 Index 277

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