Abstract: Exploring in Jason’s Wake: Deepwater Archaeology in the Black Sea

Lecturer: 

The Black Sea is perhaps best known as the exotic setting for the tale of Jason and the Argonauts and their quest for the Golden Fleece, but this large inland sea served as a maritime highway for the ancient and medieval cultures of Greece, Rome, Byzantium and the Italian maritime republics. Like the Mediterranean, its depths hide the remains of hundreds of ancient shipwrecks, each with its own story to tell. But unlike the warm, oxygen-rich bottom of the Mediterranean, the anoxic waters of the Black Sea abyss have long been thought to preserve wood and organic remains. An international team of archaeologists and oceanographers are starting to discover ancient and medieval wrecks here using the latest in robotic and digital imaging technology. The well-preserved state of these wrecks and their cargoes have electrified the archaeological community and the world. This lecture provides an overview of these discoveries through the eyes of Dan Davis, an archaeologist who helped direct the first scientific excavation of two ancient deep-water wrecks in the Black Sea using a remotely-operated vehicle. 

 

Short bibliography and/or website on lecture topic (for lay reader):

Casson, L. 1991. The Ancient Mariners: Seafarers and Sea Fighters of the Mediterranean in Ancient Times. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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