IAP course '03

seminar '02

seminar '01

seminar '99


MIT STS.467: Research Seminar on Deep Sea Archaeology

Wed. 7-10 pm, Building E51, room 165

Professors David Mindell & Aaron Brody

office: Mindell--E51-194 Brody--E38-308

office hours: Mindell- Wednesdays, 3-5 Brody--Tuesdays & Thursdays 1:30-3:00, drop-in, or by appointment

tel: Mindell 253-0221 Brody 253-3496


Goals: Examines the intellectual foundations of archaeology in the deep sea. Explores the current convergence of oceanography, archaeology, and engineering which allows scientists to discover, survey, and excavate shipwrecks in deep water with robots and submarines. How best do we employ new devices for archaeological work? How do new capabilities (e.g. higher frequencies, higher resolution, all digital data output) change operations plans and research designs? What new technologies will be required? Area studies will focus on the Aegean in Minoan times and western Sicily during Phoenician, Greek, and Roman hegemony.

Requirements: several presentations (number to be determined by class enrollment); presentations will entail the assignment of one article ahead of time for class reading, a 3-4 page written argument submitted to the class by e-mail 24 hours in advance of the presentation, 1 page of annotated bibliography, and a 15-20 minute oral presentation to the class.

Textbook: Delgado, James P. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology. Yale University Press, 1997.


Lecture Syllabus and Reading Assignments

February 6

Introduction: Technology, Archaeology, and the Deep Sea

February 13

Marine and nautical archaeology: method and theory

Keith Muckelroy, Maritime Archaeology, Chapters 1-2, Chapter 6

Patty Jo Watson, "Method and Theory in Shipwreck Archaeology"

Encyclopedia: "Maritime Archaeology," "Underwater Archaeology," "Nautical Archaeology," Mary Rose," "Institute of Nautical Archaeology," "Trilateration," "Baseline Trilateration," "Direct Survey Method," "Airlift," "Positioning Systems," "Shipwreck Anthropology," "Site Formation processes," "Cultural context," "Deep water sites," "Excavation"

February 20

Deep ocean robotics: vehicles, sensors and modeling

Robert D. Ballard, "The MEDEA/JASON remotely operated vehicle system."

L. Whitcomb, D. Yoerger, H. Singh, and D. Mindell, "Toward Precision Robotic Maneuvering, Survey, and Manipulation in Unstructured Undersea Environments"

D.A. Mindell and B. Bingham, "A High-frequency, Narrow-beam Sub-bottom Profiler for Archaeological Applications."

H. Singh, J. Adams, D. Mindell, and B.P. Foley, "Imaging Underwater for Archaeology."

Encyclopedia: "Submersibles" "Sonic High Accuracy Ranging and Positioning," "Photomosaic," "Remote Sensing," "Video Sensing" "Sub-bottom profiler," "Hamilton and Scourge"

February 27

Seafaring and the Ancient Mediterranean, Overview

John Pryor, Chapter 1, "The sea," in Geography, Technology, and War: Studies in the Maritime History of the Mediterranean 649-1571.

Ferdnand Braudel, vol.1, part II "The Heart of the Mediterranean: Seas and Coasts," pp. 103-167, part IV "The Mediterranean as a Physical Unit: Climate and History," pp. 231-275, in The Mediterranean.

Yehuda Karmon, "Geographical Components in the Study of Ancient Mediterranean Ports," in Avner Raban (ed.), Harbour Archaeology.

Encyclopedia: "Mediterranean Sea," "Israel," "Greece," "Italy," "Archaeological Record," "Archaeology," "Ceramic Studies," "Contextual Relationships," "Shipboard Society."

March 6

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

James Bellingham, "New Oceanographic Uses of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles."

D.A. Mindell and B. Bingham, "New Archaeological Uses of Autonomous Undersea Vehicles."

March 13

Trade in the Bronze Age Eastern Mediterranean

Sherratt, A. & Sherratt, S. "From Luxuries to Commodities: The Nature of Mediterranean Bronze Age Trading Systems." in Bronze Age Trade in the Mediterranean, ed. Noah Gale (Studies in Mediterranean Archaeology, no. 90).

Daniel Potts, "Distant Shores: Ancient Near Eastern Trade with South Asia and Northeast Africa," in vol. III Civilizations of the Ancient Near East, ed. Jack Sasson.

Cemal Pulak, "The Uluburun Shipwreck: an Overview."

Lucy Blue, "Cyprus and Cilicia: The Typology and Palaeogeography of Second Millennium Harbors," in Res Maritimae, ed. Stuart Swiny, et al.

Ezra Marcus, "By Land or by Sea in the Southeastern Mediterranean," in Maritime Trade in the Southern Levant from Earliest Times Through the Middle Bronze IIA Period.

Dan Davis, chs. III, IV, V, in "Navigation in the Ancient Eastern Mediterranean" MA Thesis, Texas A & M.

Aaron Brody, introduction & conclusion, Each Man Cried Out to His God.

Encyclopedia: "Uluburun," "Cape Gelidonya Wreck," "Bronze Age Stone Anchors," "Harbour Studies," "Sheytan Deresi Wreck"

March 20

The Minoan World

Malcolm Wiener, "The Isles of Crete: The Minoan Thalassocracy Revisited."

Gale and Gale, "The Role of Thera in the Bronze Age Trade in Metals."

Doumas ed., Thera and the Aegean World (selections)

Chadwick, "Linear B"

Ellen Davis, "The Iconography of the Ship Fresco from Thera," in Ancient Greek Art and Iconography

The Prehistoric Archaeology of the Aegean:

[No Class: March 27 Spring Break]

April 3

Minoan Seafaring

J. Powell, part III "Fishing Methods," in Fishing in the Prehistoric Aegean.

R. W. Hutchinson, ch. 4, "The Minoan Marine, Trade, and Communications," and ch. 9, "The Social and Economic Life, Industries, and Agriculture," in Prehistoric Crete.

Morgan, "Ships and Boats," & "The Nautical Procession," in The Miniature Wall Paintings of Thera.

Eric Cline, "The Nature of the Economic Relations of Crete with Egypt and the Near East during the Late Bronze Age," in From Minoan Farmers to Roman Traders: Sidelights on the Economy of Ancient Crete.

Cark G. Reynolds, "The Maritime Character of Minoan Civilization," (read critically)

Philip Betancourt, "Relations Between the Aegean and the Hyksos at the End of the Middle Bronze Age," in The Hyksos: New Historical and Archaeological Perspectives.

Encyclopedia: "Thera"

April 10

Geology of the Santorini Volcano (Guest: Prof. Haraldur Sigurdsson, URI Geology Dept.)

Friedrich, Fire in the Sea (Parts I & II)

April 17

Trade in the Western Med.: Roman, Phoenician, Greek (Guest: Dr. Claire Calcagno, Univ. of Southampton Archaeology Dept.)

Sherratt, A. & Sherratt, S. "The Growth of the Mediterranean Economy in the Early First Millennium BC."

Glenn Markoe, Ch. 7, "Commercial Expansion Abroad," Phoenicians.

John Boardman, ch. 5 "Italy, Sicily, and the West," in The Greeks Overseas.

P. Pomey, "Navigation and Ships in the Age of Greek Colonization."

Robert Ballard, Lawrence Stager, "Iron Age Shipwrecks in Deep Water off Ashkelon, Israel."

Encyclopedia: "Giglio wreck," "Marsala Punic Warship"

April 24

The Roman Economy (Guest: Prof. Peter Temin, MIT Econ. Dept.)

Peter Temin, "A Market Economy in the Early Roman Empire."

Encyclopedia: "Kyrenia Ship," "Madrague de Giens Wreck," "Grand Congloue," "Alexandria," "Actian Naval Monument," "Caesarea Maritima," "Athlit Ram"

April 26-28 - 2nd MIT Conference on Technology, Archaeology, and the Deep Sea

May 1

Skerki Bank (Guest: Anna McCann)

Anna McCann and Freed, chs. 1-4, Deep Water Archaeology.

Ballard, McCann, et al. "The discovery of ancient history in the deep sea using advanced deep submergence technology."

Anna McCann, "Amphoras from the Deep Sea: Ancient Shipwrecks between Carthage and Rome."

Anna McCann, "An Early Imperial Shipwreck in the Deep Sea off Skerki Bank."

Encyclopedia: "Isis Wreck," "Cosa, harbour of"

May 8: TBA




Deep Water Archaeology Research Group
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Ave. Rm e51-194
Cambridge, MA 02139




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