Posts Tagged ‘scuba diving’

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Avocationals Supporting the Profession – By Dave Howe

January 18, 2011

Editor’s note:

2010 was a great year for the Guest Blogger series which we capped off by publishing the Guest Blogger Anthology (available for free download off the MUA homepage).  We are very happy to kick off the 2011 Guest Blogger series by reaching out to a valuable partner in the field of underwater archaeology.  We’ve  invited Dave Howe to write about avocational involvement in underwater surveys and how trained volunteers can support professional archaeological endeavors.

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Dave HoweAvocationals can provide free, useful and valuable labor on field projects or on other work in direct support of projects.  Although not trained to professional standards in archaeology, avocationals can bring a number of related or supplemental skills, including diving, boat handling, data management, equipment maintenance, forensics, and more.  They also can assist in publication and outreach.  The MUA hosts a number of posts from avocational groups.

For instance trained volunteer groups can conduct independent reconnaissance and assessment for State Historic Preservation Offices.  For example, during 2010 the Institute of Maritime History (IMH) mapped and reported ten sites to the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT), continued searching for two Revolutionary War warships for MHT, and began the first known underwater survey at Mount Vernon, finding two definite wrecks, two probable wrecks, and other cultural features not yet mapped.  In February and March 2011 we will map those sites and continue searching for others.  This project is for the benefit of Mount Vernon, MHT, and the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR).

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Deepwater Archaeology in Oil and Gas – By Kimberly L. Faulk (née Eslinger)

December 14, 2010

Kim FaulkThe unfortunate events leading up to and following the Macondo well blowout, and the loss of eleven lives in April have focused international attention on the domestic oil and gas industry in the United States for the first time since the Exxon Valdez oil spill on March 24, 1989.  In the 21 years since the Exxon Valdez disaster archaeologists have become more sophisticated in reacting to environmental and archaeological emergencies and in sharing that information with their colleagues.  For the relatively small number of us who work in the oil and gas industry as underwater archaeologists the impact of the recent spill will be on our minds for years to come.  Those of us who work offshore are highly aware of the innate dangers that surround offshore surveys, Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) operations, drilling operations, and infrastructure installation.  I was offshore the day Macondo exploded and for those of us on the boat, our first concern was whether there was anything we could do to assist.  Our second concern that day and the one we didn’t want to voice was whether we knew anyone aboard Deepwater Horizon.

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The Historic Environment: Shared Heritage and Joint Responsibilities? – By Ian Oxley

November 16, 2010

Throughout a thirty-year career in maritime archaeology, a particular hobby-horse of mine has been an element of good practice management that involves jointly sharing heritage responsibilities, as well as benefits and outcomes.

At a basic level, I think that much maritime and underwater heritage is inherently multi-national, a fundamental property opens up great opportunities for co-operative investigation and use, overriding present day boundaries.  It is derived from mobile carriers (ships and boats) travelling between many locations, involving and impacting on many lives, gathering stories so that a rich heritage resource can be re-told now and in the future.

The contributory elements that make up sites that result from this activity can be investigated and presented for education, research and amenity. Making all this happen effectively would seem to be best delivered by a managed contribution from all interested parties, requiring sharing various elements at a range of levels – experience, expertise, knowledge, data, and international, national, and local. It also needs to be effective because archaeological resources are unique, no two sites are the same, and any investigation should be carefully planned so that the maximum of beneficial return is gained with the minimum of impact. This is the joint responsibility bit because the archaeological heritage is a legacy from the past for the future. I hope to show a few examples of what I mean here.

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Integrating Underwater and Terrestrial Archaeology – By Matthew A. Russell

May 17, 2010

As Jim Delgado reminded us in a recent MUA blog, underwater archaeology has been a separate and distinct sub-discipline of archaeology since George Bass’s first full-scale underwater excavation at Cape Gelidonya in 1960. Unfortunately, many early practitioners of underwater archaeology were not treated as serious scholars by terrestrial colleagues in the mainstream of either classical or anthropological archaeology. From the beginning, underwater archaeologists had to fight the perception that antiquarian-style collecting was the limit to what could be done underwater. This perception was repeatedly challenged through early publications that demonstrated the potential of anthropological archaeology underwater, including Keith Muckelroy’s Maritime Archaeology (1978), and Richard Gould’s edited volume Shipwreck Anthropology (1983), which was based on a School of American Research Advanced Seminar organized by Daniel Lenihan and Larry Murphy in 1981. Early skepticism about the scientific or academic contributions of underwater archaeology may also have been because of the inevitable confusion between treasure hunting and underwater archaeology, a problem that still exists among the public and even among other archaeologists. Despite fifty years of professional underwater archaeological research and publication, a gap still exists between terrestrial and underwater archaeologists.

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The Institute of Nautical Archaeology – By Dr. James P. Delgado

March 17, 2010

Founded in 1973, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology is in its 37th year of operation in 2010, and we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first scientific archaeological excavation of a shipwreck under water at Cape Gelidonya.  When journalist/adventurer Peter Throckmorton arrived in Bodrum in the spring of 1958 to write about Turkish sponge divers, he learned of many ancient wrecks as he gained the divers’ confidence.  Throckmorton visited many of them, diving on what he later said were up to a hundred wrecks.  He also visited an underwater excavation off Albenga, Italy, where six divers worked on a Roman wreck, supervised by archaeologists who remained on the deck and did not dive.  Important discoveries were being made elsewhere in the Mediterranean, and in the U.S., and pioneering explorers interested in archaeological discovery were diving, but no one had completely excavated a shipwreck under water. Read the rest of this entry ?

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The 1764 British Sloop Industry Exhibit Gets a Facelift

December 2, 2009

When the MUA “opened” its virtual doors in 2004 our mission was to encourage underwater archaeologists to share their research with the general public and with each other via the Internet.  It was difficult to find that first organization that was willing to post with us.  We were untested and honestly, pretty inexperienced both in public outreach and web design and coding but we believed in the mission.  John W. Morris III, (the first director of LAMP in St. Augustine, FL) took a chance and approached us about using research on the 1764 British sloop Industry for our first exhibit.  For that, we will always be grateful. Since then the MUA has grown to include nearly 300 pages of content written by over 70 professional, student, and avocational underwater archaeologists from around the world.  We are very fortunate that LAMP’s current director, Chuck Meide, still believes in our mission and has worked with us to update the original exhibit with new images, slide shows, zoomviews, and text.  The rather dated look and feel of the original post has been replaced with a new design which we hope does an even better job of telling Industry’s story.

We invite you to view the newly revised British sloop Industry exhibit at the MUA here: http://www.themua.org/exhibit_industry

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The Seventh “P” – By Dr. Susan Langley

November 10, 2009

susanI recently ran across the following quotation regarding profiting from underwater history, archaeology and ocean environments:

“[Profit] A dirty word?  Should there be financial gain from encouraging respect of the ocean and the history it shrouds?  Of course! Even non-profit organizations survive on donations from other people’s earnings and revenues, which are generated by profit.  The Other ‘P’s depend on the support of the profit, as it depends on them.  Without it, Passion dwindles, the Product loses value, Protection & Preservation suffer, and Promotion becomes pointless.  No Profit, end of Dream!”

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