Friday, March 12, 2010

Underwater Archaeology.

I’m sure everyone has heard of archaeology. For those who haven’t, you are missing out. Archaeology is the science and humanity that studies historical human cultures through the recovery, documentation, analysis, and interpretation of material culture and environmental data. This includes architecture, artifacts, biofacts, and landscapes. Archaeology aims to understand humankind through these humanistic endeavors. (Wikipedia) Have you ever heard of underwater archaeology? No? Well, it’s out there. Underwater Archeology is the study of past human life, behaviors and culture’s using the physical remains found in salt or fresh water or buried beneath water-logged sediment. It is branch of archaeology. It is definitely an interesting field to learn more about and it is worth exploring.
Underwater archaeologists explore sites that include underwater shipwrecks, aircraft, crannogs, bridges, and harbors. Underwater Archaeology has proven to be important because it without a doubt provides a contribution to knowledge of the past. The first and foremost obvious shipwreck, that provided a great amount of historical information, was the Titanic. We all remember the movie. Click here to view a video of that famous, captivating song by Miss Celine Dion on YouTube. Some shipwrecks have acted as time capsules, preserving the artifacts they held within their casings. Underwater Archaeology acts as a complementary field to dry site archaeology because artifacts found underwater are persevered differently.
An underwater dig that started in 2007, The Black Sea Shipwreck Research Project has been underway. A team of divers, students, volunteers, and professional archaeologists from Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and America have been exploring a thirteenth-century shipwreck near the town of Novy Svet. The team believes they have found the Pisa Shipwreck based on their findings. Benjamin Goetsch himself states, “Our findings have so far supported the hypothesis that we have found the “Pisa Ship”.” Check out their video diary and follow along.
How awesome would it be to explore and excavate shipwrecks on the bottom of the ocean floor? And find artifacts that date back to an ancient battle at sea? That sounds pretty awesome to me. Having the job of maritime archaeologist would be unbelievable. Sometimes, most people are only worried about the kinds of things that archaeologists can find on dry land. What people don’t realize is that there is a whole other world below sea level that is worth exploring.
Underwater Archaeology is not all about shipwrecks. It also deals with changes in sea level because seismic events may have caused what was once dry land, to become submerged in water. Underwater sites do have their challenges. It is more perilous to excavate an underwater site because diving equipment and diving skills are essential. You can’t go to the ocean floor without oxygen tanks, and some sort of diving ability. A work platform is necessary and the platform requires a large number of special paraphernalia to accommodate the whole lot. The excavation site is subject to current change, surf, storm interference and tides. Such problems could destroy the dig site. Wrecks and artifacts have the potential to be covered up by the deposit on the sea floor. Archaeological divers may have a hard time seeing in the water because of sediment or the presence of algae in the water. All of these factors are very bad to deal with, but if the factors do not have a damaging effect, the findings can be barely credible.
Interested? Archaeologists can earn from 30,000 to 70,000 dollars a year. The pay is higher when you’re more experienced. I’m not sure what kind of salary an Underwater Archaeologist can receive but I’m sure it depends on what kind of work you are participated in and who is paying you. If discovering historical shipwrecks and you’re a sucker for the sea, explore the field of Underwater Archaeology.

Citation: "Archaeology" 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 March 2010.

Goetsch, Benjamin. "The Black Sea Shipwreck Research Project". 2007. 12 March 2010.

"Underwater Archaeology" 2010. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 12 March 2010.

"Interview With An Underwater Archaeologist" 2003. 12 March 2010.

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