monitor '01

aegean '01

hunley '01

defence '00

black sea '00

black sea '99

ashkelon '99

black sea '98

midway '98

skerki '97




Fisherman.jpg (183967 bytes)In July, 1998, a team led by David Mindell of MIT and IFE conducted an undersea archaeological survey of the area surrounding the city of Sinop, Turkey in the Black Sea. Preliminary results indicate significant archaeological data as well as raising a host of new questions for future surveys. This survey focused on relatively shallow water, between 50 and 80M depth (which defines a rather large area outside the port of Sinop). In 1999 plans are to return to the site with a larger ship and a specialized deep search system and to begin surveying in very deep water, down to 2000M. Also in 1999 a robotic vehicle will make video inspections of the sonar targets identified during this survey. 


Science Team:

David Mindell Chief Scientist   MIT/IFE
Fredrik Hiebert Project Archaeologist U. Penn
Francesco Torre Consulting Geologist Archaeological Museum, Trapani, Italy
Martin Wilcox Sonar Engineer Marine Sonics Technology (Gloucester, VA)
Cathy Offinger Logistics Coordinator IFE
Brendan Foley Graduate Student MIT
Sarah Webster Undergraduate Student MIT

Milestones & Statistics

First undersea survey designed specifically to mesh with an adjacent land survey.
6 days survey (avg. 13 hours each)
2 days lost for weather
25 Tracklines
254 Targets identified
>70 miles of survey lines (~13 sq. mi. of area covered)

 This survey was designed and undertaken in conjunction with a series of land surveys conducted concurrently by Fred Hiebert's group at the University of Pennsylvania. By studying, in a systematic manner, the distribution of archaeological data simultaneously on land and at sea, we hope to create more a complete picture of ancient trade, manufacturing, agriculture and society in Sinop and the Black Sea than would be achieved by studying land and seafloor in isolation.



Bridgegroup.jpg (172822 bytes)The land area of Sinop is archaeologically rich; in some places pottery literally saturates the soil. Here a Roman bridge seems to head off into the ocean, the road it connected to having eroded away.

Collection.jpg (177399 bytes)






OrguzII.jpg (284298 bytes)The technology used were 150khz and 600khz "SeaScan" side-scan sonars provided by Marine Sonics Technology Limited (Gloucester, Virginia), combined with differential GPS accurate to about 3M. Most survey lines were conducted with the 150kHz sonar, with the 600 used for imaging. The survey was run from the Orkoz II, a local fishing vessel with an excellent crew and a first-rate cook.

Group.jpg (176371 bytes)

Below left, Marty Wilcox and Sarah Webster prepare the sonar fish for launching. We all spent many days glued to the screen of a small laptop which displayed the sonar data as it came in. All  data was recorded digitally on computer (sonar), plotted by hand (positions), and logged in a book (operations and comments). The triple redundancy ensures against data loss but also helps with planning the survey and greatly eases finding data afterward.

Rigfish.jpg (174125 bytes)DMComputer.jpg (172932 bytes)Chart.jpg (168283 bytes)

SinopB1.TIF (208935 bytes)Much of the data is still being processed, but the image on the left appears to be a 19th-century sailing vessel, and one can clearly see a number of guns which have been scattered around the seafloor with great violence. Did we find one of the ships from the Turkish fleet which was destroyed by the Russians in 1853? This was the first use of exploding shells in combat, and influenced the European powers to consider ironclad ships to protect against them.

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



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