Marine archaeological exploration of the Black Sea

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Date of Original Version



Through funding from NOAA's Ocean Exploration Initiative and elsewhere, the Institute for Exploration (IFE) has conducted multiple expeditions to the Black Sea for marine archaeological research. Oceanographically, the Black Sea is a unique body of water, and archaeologically, the region has a rich ancient maritime history. Using a suite of deep sea vehicle systems, including a deep-towed side-scan sonar/subbottom profiler, an optical imaging towsled, and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV), we have discovered, surveyed, imaged and sampled a number of interesting sites. These include a highly-preserved wooden ship that dated to the Byzantine period about 1500 years ago, an amphora-laden trading vessel that dated to the Hellenistic period about 2400 years ago, and a possible site of human habitation along a presently-submerged paleoshoreline that was rapidly inundated more than 7000 years ago, during the Neolithic period. During the summer of 2003, IFE will return to the Black Sea to excavate several of these sites using a new ROV, Hercules. This vehicle system is equipped with state-of-the-art imaging equipment, including high-definition video and high-resolution multibeam sonar, precise manipulation and navigation, and an array of other oceanographic sensors and sampling equipment. The entire expedition will be broadcast across Internet 2 using an advanced satellite telecommunication system to deliver scientific and educational content to universities, schools, and other public and private institutions.

Publication Title

Oceans 2003: Celebrating the Past... Teaming Toward the Future