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Introduction To Nautical Archaeology
Nautical Archaeology is the study and excavation of historical shipwrecks as well as submerged harbors and ports. Oceans, rivers and lakes are all rich repositories of humankinds history because nearly every object created by man was transported at one time or another on a barge, canoe or ship. How does all this history end up in the water you may ask. Some ships are the victims of disaster such as the Titanic and the Belle, others like the Vasa, sank because of construction defects, countless others were the victim of jagged reefs and hidden sandbars. Many early civilizations purposefully deposited things in the ocean, perhaps to appease some angry primitive deity or honor a loved one. The Vikings were one of many cultures that conducted burials at sea and lots of ships and submarines, such as the CSS Hunley, went down in battle. As you can see there are many different ways ships end up submerged beneath the waves, all have their own unique and fascinating story to tell us but it is only recently that we have been able to listen.
Locating and Mapping the Shipwreck
Learn how Nautical Archaeologists find ships underwater and map the excavation sites.
Discover how Nautical Archaeologists recover submerged artifacts and sometimes entire ships from the water.
Learn the special techniques Conservators use to protect, clean and restore artifacts and relics.
Interview with a Nautical Archaeologist
Meet George Bass, 'The Father of Nautical Archaeology'
Explore five fascinating historical wrecks and learn the story behind them.
SUNKEN HARBORS and PORTS
Submerged due to catastrophic earthquakes and tidal waves, explore two historic ports and, learn about how Nautical Archaeologists discovered them.
Photographs courtesy of the INA and Texas A&M University