INA’s 2020 Fieldwork & Research Projects
In 2020, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology will support more than 20 new and continuing archaeological projects around the globe. This research is driven by the graduate students (both current and former) and faculty members of Texas A&M University’s Nautical Archaeology Program, as well as INA Research Associates and Affiliated Scholars. Some of the projects that received INA support for 2020 are:
Iberian Shipbuilding and Design from 1570-1712 (Spain)
Richard Borrero (Texas A&M University)
Seventeenth-century Iberian shipwrecks and shipbuilding treatises reflect the broader picture of the European Scientific Revolution taking place since the end of the Renaissance. The period running from 1570 to 1712 plays a major role in the bifurcation of shipbuilding and ship design, marking the emergence of naval architecture as a protoscience. The performance of the vessels could not be predicted yet, but coefficients, algorithms and a coordinate system made the shapes explicit before the ships were built. Using written and iconographic sources, the project will result in a better understanding of 17th-century Iberian ship-design.
Underwater Archaeology of Roman Kaukana (Italy)
Massimo Capulli (University of Udine)
On a stretch of the Italian coast between Punta Braccetto and the seaside village of Casuzze, several landings and coastal shelters delineate the Greco-Roman site of Kaukana, which was connected to trade routes between the East, Tripoli, Egypt, Rome, Malta, and Sicily. The aim of the Kaukana Project, is to survey the site for underwater cultural heritage and reconstruct Kaukana’s relationship with the rest of the Mediterranean. This year, the team will continue excavating and documenting the Byzantine shipwreck of Punta Secca.
Santo Hieronimo Shipwreck Excavation (Croatia) – 2020 Claude Duthuit Archaeology Grant Recipient
Jose Casabán (INA) and Irena Radič-Rossi (University of Zadar/INA)
Santo Hieronimo was owned by Jerolim Benedikt Primoević (Hieronimo Benedicto de Primi) from the Maritime Republic of Ragusa (Dubrovnik, Croatia) which sank at the entrance of the Bay of Suđurađ, on the Island of Šipan (Croatia), in 1576. The remains of Santo Hieronimo have been systematically surveyed and excavated since 2014 as part of the Archaeology of Adriatic Shipbuilding and Seafaring Project (AdriaS). This project aims to understand the shipbuilding philosophy behind the conception, technology, and construction of post-medieval vessels that sailed the Adriatic Sea, and to carry out a comparative analysis of the hull remains of Santo Hieronimo with other contemporary 16th-century vessels to identify design transfers between Adriatic, Mediterranean, and Atlantic Ocean.
Seneca Lake Archaeological Survey (New York)
Art Cohn (Lake Champlain Maritime Museum/INA)
The Seneca Lake Survey, coinciding with the commemoration of New York’s Canal Bicentennial, is a part of the state’s effort to refine their management approach to underwater cultural heritage. Seneca Lake was connected to three different 19th-century canals, and is thought to contain a significant collection of shipwrecks from this period. In 2018, as a demonstration of the lake’s archaeological potential, Lake Champlain Maritime Museum staff initiated an underwater survey designed to discover the canal boat Frank Bowley, which sank in 1869. A total of eight intact canal-era shipwrecks were found. Remarkably, an additional eight intact canal-era shipwrecks were discovered in 2019.
Gaspé Bay Survey (Canada)
Chris Dostal and Carolyn Kennedy (Texas A&M University)
The Gaspé Peninsula, in eastern Quebec, has been home over the centuries to indigenous and European fishermen, whalers, and traders. It was in Gaspé Bay, in 1534, that Jacques Cartier first landed in Canada, claiming it for France. The region’s long and rich maritime tradition suggests that much material culture is waiting to be found, though the area has been largely unstudied. The project will survey the bay with side scan sonar to identify wreck targets of interest. Read more about the project here: Gaspé Bay Survey.
Old Kingdom Boat Model Survey (Egypt)
Douglas Inglis (Texas A&M University)
The purpose of this project is to document, model, and produce hull lines for a collection of nearly 30 Old Kingdom Boat models in the Egyptian Museum in Cairo in order better understand their hull form, as well as to help contextualize them in Egyptian funerary practice. While they are less elaborate than their Middle and New Kingdom counterparts, and not equipped with model sailors, they remain an essential source of three-dimensional data that is not available from two-dimensional reliefs. This research will help inform our understanding of the evolution of Egyptian hull construction, as well as supplement the analysis of the hull form of the 3rd-Dynasty Abusir Boat.
The Last Schooners Project (Canada)
Ben Ioset (Texas A&M University)
The purpose of this project is to research the final years of sailing commerce on Lake Ontario through the archaeological investigation of late 19th-century sailing vessels. The eastern end of Lake Ontario contains an exceptionally well-preserved assemblage of such schooners. These vessels are a material manifestation of the efforts of sailors to continue utilizing traditional sailing technologies long after steam had supplanted sail on the Lakes. The two-masted schooner Katie Eccles and the three-masted schooner Oliver Mowat are representative of transitions in purposes, operations and technology that individual sailing ships underwent during sail’s technological decline.
Vendicari Maritime Landscape Project (Sicily)
Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University/INA)
Tuna fishing represents not only the oldest economic driver, but a fundamental way of life in southeast Sicily. With evidence of fishing and fish processing extending from the 4th century B.C. through the Roman, late antique, Islamic, and modern eras, the site of Vendicari offers the perfect vantage point for exploring long-term patterns behind a Mediterranean livelihood that was once vital but is now unsustainable. Building on a strong multi-institutional framework, this interdisciplinary project combines survey and excavation on- and offshore with remote sensing and geomorphology to explore a pristine but dynamic local maritime landscape and the economic integration it generated across the ebb and flow of connectivity.
Capistello Shoal Project (Sicily)
Alba Mazza (The Getty Villa)
This project consists of the documentation, study and publication of archaeological findings from the Capistello Shoal. The site, investigated in the late 1970s by INA, is famous for an extremely well preserved shipwreck dated to the 3rd century B.C. Recent surveys (2014-2019) by the Sicilian Soprintendenza del Mare resulted in the discovery of new materials belonging to the Hellenistic shipwreck (i.e. a perfectly preserved clay loutherion). Recently discovered materials and relevant but unpublished findings from past investigations will be studied and published. For the first time, data will be shared with geomorphologists and climate change experts in order to obtain a better understanding of the site and of the past landscape of Lipari.
Kumluca Bronze Age Shipwreck Excavation (Turkey)
Cemal Pulak (Texas A&M University/INA) and Hakan Öniz (Akdeniz University)
In summer 2019, a quarter-century after the (1984-1994) excavation of the world-famous Late Bronze Age shipwreck at Uluburun, Turkey, an INA team under the direction of Professor Cemal Pulak, in partnership with Associate Professor Hakan Öniz, and under the auspices of the Antalya Museum, embarked on the excavation of yet another Bronze Age shipwreck off of Turkey’s Mediterranean coast. Based on the roughly 100 copper ingots visible on the seabed, this wreck seems to date even earlier than the Uluburun ship, to the 16th or 15th century B.C. – presenting an unparalleled opportunity to learn about the methodological and metallurgical origins of these earliest ingots.
Yukon River Steamboat Survey (Canada)
John Pollack (INA)
When the Gold Rush exploded in 1897, West Coast shipyards responded to the demand, and stern-wheelers were constructed in yards as far south as San Francisco and as far north as Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. In total, 266 stern- and side-wheeled steamboats operated on the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada. When the boom dissipated in 1900, many steamship companies either went bankrupt or were bought out by competitors, and vessels were left derelict on shore. As a result, the Yukon now contains one of the greatest intact collections of stern-wheel vessels known to exist. Work this year will focus on archival research and side scan surveys of Kootenay Lake, Slocan Lake, and the Upper Arrow Lakes. Learn more here: Yukon River Steamboat Survey.
Ribadeo Project (Spain) – 2020 INA Discovery Fund Recipient
Miguel San Claudio Santa Cruz (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
The Spanish galleon San Giacomo di Galizia, built in Naples for King Philip II, was lost in 1597 at Ribadeo, Spain. During the 2018 season, researchers identified and mapped the location of the remains, and trenched to assess hull and cargo preservation. In 2019, investigators will trench the midship section and record the keel and mast step, to interpret and reconstruct the ship’s lines. The team will also record the ship’s components and fasteners, which are largely unknown for this period.
Albania Ancient Shipwreck Excavation at Joni (Albania) – 2020 INA Discovery Fund Recipient
Staci Willis (Houston Community College/INA)
The Joni wreck was one of several sites visited during the 2018 Albania Ancient Shipwreck survey in partnership with RPM Nautical Foundation. The wreck is tentatively dated to the 4th century A.D. and includes North African amphoras as well as an associated debris field. The team will explore the site to determine the range of artifacts present and assess the level of hull preservation, if any. The project is the first underwater shipwreck excavation undertaken in Albanian waters. Learn more here: Albania Ancient Shipwreck Project.
Ongoing Projects at INA’s Bodrum Research Center
In addition to the above projects, an impressive array of ongoing post-excavation research projects is based out of INA’s Bodrum Research Center in Turkey. Decades of INA surveys in Turkey have uncovered wrecks and cargoes dating from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire. The most significant of these discoveries have rewritten the history books, adding a staggering volume of data to the archaeological record of ancient and medieval seafaring. Students and scholars from around the world work out of the Bodrum Research Center, where they learn about the important discoveries INA has made with its Turkish partners.
Yassıada Ottoman Shipwreck (Turkey)