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special events

and the deep sea
conference '02

toward a new
conference '99




Integrating Land and Underwater Archaeology
Jon Adams, University of Southampton

January 12, 1998

We began with a discussion on side scan sonar technology and exhibited literature from Marine Sonic Technology, Ltd. MSTL manufactures and markets several side scan towfish and supporting computer software. Displayed were images from the 600 KHz and 150 KHz transducers.

The discussion then ranged to the results of the Skerki Bank 1997 Project and papers presented at the Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Atlanta, GA earlier in the month.

The topic of conversation then shifted to the 1998 Black Sea Project. The stated goals of the project were two-fold:

  1. Bring the side scan sonar into areas of high priority, as identified by the archaeologists surveying on the shore.
  2. A side scan survey of the inner harbor, commencing at the 200 meter depth contour. The arc of shelf falling within that depth range extends about 20 kilometers in a radius from the Sinop peninsula. Survey should concentrate to the south and perhaps to the west of the peninsula, the area identified by Bob Ballard as geologically the most likely region for intact, unburied shipwrecks.

Logistics for operating in Sinop:

  • Availability/schedule of flights from Istanbul to Sinop
  • Land survey field schedule
  • Time window available under research permit
  • Oppportunites to coordinate with French land archaeology team known to have studied the amphora factory in Demirci Valley
  • Availability/suitability of local fishing craft to serve as sonar platforms
  • Timing of permit approval

Group dynamics and interdisciplinarity:

What should the land/water groups learn from each other before going into the field?

Ideally, both groups should have a working knowledge of the techniques and research questions incorporated by the other. To that end, the land archaeologists should learn about remote sensing hardware (side scan sonar) and the physics involved in the operations of the systems.

A Geographic Information System database should be constructed to bring together the information collected during the land surveys. Basic geographic data should serve as the foundation of this database - do digital maps exist for the region? If so, the GIS should be constructed as rapidly as possible, with versions circulated among the group. Feedback from the group should be directed toward improving the geographic information contained in the database.

Meetings times for the research group should be formalized, and topics for future meetings should include Black Sea trade patterns in the ancient world, Black Sea oceanography, and Black Sea geomorphology.


Jon Adams - Soton

David Mindell - MIT

David Smart - Harvard & Black Sea Trade Route Project

Alex Gantos - BU and Black Sea Trade Route Project

Brendan Foley - MIT

Cathy Offinger - IFE




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



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