monitor '01

aegean '01

hunley '01

defence '00

black sea '00

black sea '99

ashkelon '99

black sea '98

midway '98

skerki '97




bs1999 :: 1 :: 2 :: 3 :: 4 :: 5 :: 6 :: 7 :: 8 :: 9 :: 10 :: 11

From: Sarah Webster
Subject: Newsletter #3
July 5, 1999

Hello All,

I am Sarah Webster, a Mechanical Engineering student from MIT. I came to Sinop last year with David, Brendan et al for the preliminary sonar survey, and spent a lot of time last fall reviewing and organizing the sonar data.

Today we had our first day out doing real science. Yesterday we took a field trip and picnic on board the larger of the two ships, Yildiz Kardesler. I am on board Yildiz Kardesler as the "Chief Data Logger" for now. My job is to teach all of our new recruits to plot data points on the charts and keep the log books. We spent a few hours in the morning preparing the ship and vehicle (which we have named Bak - -the command "Look!" in Turkish) for the first day out. 

(l to r) Erkut Arcak, Martin Bowen, Sarah Webster, Bob Ballard, and  Brendan Foley inside the lab space on Yildiz Kardesler, after taping aluminum foil on the windows. We felt like a baked potato.

We did stuff like covering the sunward windows of the chart room with tinfoil to reflect the sun and heat. (It worked amazingly well--I highly recommend it). The D in the DGPS is broken so avid worked on that while we were still tied to the dock but with no success. (DGPS is differential GPS, the differential part takes the the normal GPS with an accuracy of ~100 m and makes it much more accurate, up to ~3 m accuracy).

Sarah Webster high atop the mast of Yildiz Kardesler, connecting the dGPS antenna.

We gave up on the DGPS and got on station about noon. We had trouble launching the vehicle because of some less than perfect gear, but finally got the vehicle only to find that it was not correctly ballasted, the vehicle was much to buoyant. So we hauled the vehicle out of the water added weight and repeated about three times until we finally had the vehicle correctly ballasted. Then we got to go down exploring (after a great lunch, of course).

During 3 1/2 hours of looking around the bottom we located several targets identified from last year's data, one of which we think might actually be a 19th century war ship. There is a famous wreck in Sinop that is said to have been blown up at the captain's own hand (after the crew refused) so that the Russians wouldn't get it in the fight of 1853 when the Russians decimated the entire Turkish navy right in this harbor. When we were done we marked the spot with a very technical buoy made out of a brick, some line and a 2 liter coke bottle (actually Turkish Fanta, Yedigun) so the that other ship, Orkuz II, can come in tomorrow and take a more detailed video survey of the site. Detailed imaging of sights is the Orkuz's job, so they had very little to do today.

Sarah and archaeology graduate student Kathryn Willis (Texas A&M and INA) prepare to mark a target with a buoy

The day was more exciting than running sonar tracklines for 12 hours like last year, but it is still slow going with all of the launch, recoveries, reballasting and squinting at a little square of the sea floor with nothing but mud and some mussels. Find the targets was quite exciting, however, and we had the whole crew looking over our shoulders. It is now time to get to bed so we can get out early tomorrow and keep searching!

Sarah Webster




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



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