monitor '01

aegean '01

hunley '01

defence '00

black sea '00

black sea '99

ashkelon '99

black sea '98

midway '98

skerki '97




Docked in Piraeus: R/V Aegaeo, platform for summer 2001 Aegean AUV ops. The vessel is operated by the Greek National Centre for Marine Research.

During this cruise DeepArch examined the utility of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) for underwater archaeology. While marine robots like the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Jason, have undertaken such research, AUVs have not.  In close collaboration with archaeologists from the Greek Ministry of Culture and the Greek National Centre for Marine Research, members of the MIT Sea Grant AUV lab and DeepArch research group examined a shipwreck off the island of Nisyros in the Dodecanese.

The team deployed two AUVs: an MIT Odyssey-class vehicle named Xanthos, carried a video camera for visual imaging. The other, provided by Bluefin Robotics, Inc., was equipped with a very high frequency dynamically focused multibeam side scan sonar system manufactured by Klein Associates.

Sea Grant's Justin Manley recovering the Xanthos vehicle


Preparing to launch the Bluefin AUV, sonar platform during the survey


Prof. Mindell, MIT OE alum Ann Marie Polsenberg, and Brian Bingham on deck of the Aegaeo as the bosun prepares to lower a small target to test the AUV's sonar

We demonstrated the resolving power of the Klein sonar by lowering a stack of ten dinner plates to the seafloor. The sonar detected not only the plates but the buoy line, too.

R/V Aegaeo's bosun preparing to lower the plates for sonar demonstration

The sonar AUV ran precise tracklines throughout the survey area, following the terrain between the 20 m and 80 m isobaths. Upon recovery of the AUV, the sonar data was downloaded to computers in Aegaeo's lab for post-processing and interpretation.

Bluefin's Bob Grieve (wearing hat) works on the data while team engineers prepare for the next vehicle deployment




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



links research events expeditions home education publications in the press skerki 1997 midway 1998 black sea 1998 ashkelon 1999 black sea 1999 black sea 2000 defence 2000 hunley 2001 aegean 2001 monitor 2001 expeditions