Deepwater Archaeology: Advancements, Opportunities, and Limitations

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Marine archaeology continues to evolve as surveys expand beyond deepwater (areas 500-1000 meters deep) into ultra-deepwater (areas deeper than 1500 meters) around the globe. While the archaeological principles remain the same regardless of depth, often the tools, research questions, opportunities, and challenges are significantly different from those found in shallower waters. This session explores the intricacies of archaeology in deepwater and the difficulties that often accompany a deepwater project. The papers in this session seek to address topics ranging from how archaeologists are currently studying these sites, the tools available, and the research designs and methodologies employed; to public outreach initiatives, opportunities for young professionals, and the future direction of the field as a whole.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-9 of 9)

  • Documents (9)

  • Comparative Analysis of Data Sets from Deepwater Surveys: Archaeological, Geological, and Biological Encounters in the Gulf of Mexico (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Bryana Schwarz.

    Within the Outer Continental Shelf of the Gulf of Mexico, U.S. government policy requires that lessees of federal oil, gas, and sulphur leases conduct remote-sensing surveys in areas of anticipated seafloor disturbance in order to delineate potentially significant archaeological, biological, or geological features. This paper briefly outlines the requirements set forth in the federal guidelines and presents a comparative analysis of commonly-acquired data sets collected during deepwater...

  • Down, Down, Down in the Depths: A Critical Look at Deepwater Archaeology and Public Outreach in the Gulf of Mexico (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kendra Kennedy.

    Deepwater archaeologists are fortunate to work on some of the most well-preserved submerged archaeological sites in the world. Undisturbed features and rarely-recovered artifacts, which can tell us much about maritime activity, often survive in the extremely cold, nearly inaccessible depths of deepwater. In the Gulf of Mexico, in particular, partnerships between the private and public sectors have resulted in investigations of deepwater shipwrecks dating from the colonial period to World War...

  • The Excavation of the Wreck of the Lune; a Laboratory for the Archaeology of the Abyss (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michel L'Hour.

    Submerged in 91 meters outside of Toulon, the wreck of the Lune, a vessel of the French Royal Navy lost in 1664 offers a testimony of 17th-century maritime, military, social and material history. The site’s exceptional scientific interest and its depth have lead to the development of an experimental excavation project. The objective is to use this project to develop and perfect excavation logistic and a methodology perfectly adapted to wrecks located in great depths and entirely acceptable to...

  • Falling in the Deep End: Interpretation of Archaeological Sites in Deep Water (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Della Scott-Ireton. Christopher Horrell.

    Investigation of archaeological sites in extreme depths is becoming more main-stream, with governmental agencies growing concerned with resource management, academic institutions moving toward teaching the necessary specialized techniques, contract firms developing survey and remote sensing methodologies, and the public recognizing the amazing sites that can be found. In the quest to locate and identify shipwrecks in deep water, we as anthropologists must take care to ensure both archaeological...

  • Got Microbes? A Multidisciplinary Analysis of Microbial Response to the Deepwater Horizon Spill and Its Impact on Gulf of Mexico Shipwrecks (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Melanie Damour. James Moore. Brian Jordan.

    As technological advances and marine archaeological research move to deeper waters, new questions concerning site formation processes and anthropogenic impacts to shipwrecks are arising. In 2013, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, along with other Federal and academic partners, initiated a study to examine the impacts of oil and dispersant exposure on shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico. This multidisciplinary study is examining microbial biodiversity and corrosion processes at wooden and...

  • Lophelia II Project Shipwreck Component: Final Assessment and Project Analysis (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Daniel Warren. Robert Church. Robert Westrick.

    In 2008 the Minerals Management Service, now the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, sanctioned a deepwater study in the Gulf of Mexico. Officially designated the ‘Deepwater Program: Exploration and Research of Northern Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Natural and Artificial Hard Bottom Habitats with Emphasis on Coral Communities: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks’, the project was more commonly referred to as the Lophelia II Project. The ‘Wrecks’ component of...

  • Questions Unasked: Do Answers lie in Existing Deepwater Data? (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kim Faulk.

    Rapidly evolving technologies are enabling the oil and gas industry to expand subsea operations into increasingly remote and hostile marine environments each year. In the United States, regulatory requirements mandate that certain data be collected during these endeavors, and as a result, a vast amount of geophysical and Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) video data has been compiled over the past several years. However, to date there have been few opportunities to fully analyze this data and...

  • An ROV for Underwater archaeology (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Denis Degez.

    This paper presents a project developed by the Département des Recherches Archéologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines (DRASSM) to develop and produce a ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) specifically designed for underwater archaeological excavation of wrecks located in great depths. It will discuss the overall field operations that have, since 2012, driven the thought process regarding the material, physical, and technical constraints associated with underwater archaeology in great depths. It...

  • Teaching from the Deep (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Sheli Smith. Annalies Corbin.

    Deepwater Archaeology, from its historical potential to technical advancements, provides STEM education with an array of impressive tools to engage students in holistic or transdisciplinary learning. Archaeologists need to initiate these conversations, engage students and teachers at the moment of discovery and encourage the larger collective in problem-solving. Today with virtual classroom technology, and national and international programs such as Project Lead the Way, Sea Perch, and Mate,...