Ancient Shipwrecks in the Deep Sea

Fieldwork and Study

Professor Dan Davis has served as an archaeological director on a series of deep-sea research expeditions sponsored by renowned oceanographer and explorer Dr. Robert Ballard. The team—made up of ocean scientists, ocean engineers, archaeologists and students from U.S. and Turkish colleges and universities—explored the shelf and deeper waters of the Aegean and Black Seas aboard the E/V Nautilus. In that time, they discovered and documented (using two remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs) 46 shipwrecks ranging in date from the 6th century B.C. to the 20th century of our era at depths of between 100 and 500 meters.

Since 2011 several work-study students in the Classics Department have been involved in this project during both the survey/discovery phase and the ongoing research/publication phase. They learned how to plan, conduct, and process data from acoustic surveys, how to classify acoustic targets and analyze high-resolution imaging, how to serve as an effective member of the ROV team, and, ultimately, how to document and conduct scientific and historical research on ancient shipwrecks. Now, with the help of current and future Luther students, we are in the process of publishing the results of all the expeditions in a major volume entitle Archaeological Oceanography of the Aegean and Black Seas, edited by Michael L. Brennan and Dan Davis (projected, 2019).