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INA’s 2018 Fieldwork & Research Projects

In 2018, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology will support more than 20 new and continuing archaeological projects around the globe. Much of 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 2018 are:

Archival Research on Civil War Blockade Runners (USA)
Barto Arnold (INA)
The Denbigh was a Civil War blockade runner lost at Galveston, Texas in 1865. Post-excavation research this year will focus on National Archive records and documentary sources, providing context for these vessels and the trade in which they engaged. Further Denbigh Project publications are planned.

Underwater Survey in Fournoi (Greece)
Peter Campbell (British School at Rome) and George Koutsouflakis (Greek Ephorate of Underwater Antiquities)
In three seasons, archaeologists have discovered an impressive 53 shipwrecks and one submerged settlement in this survey. The Fournoi Channel is the safest of three north-south sailing routes in the eastern Aegean Sea, resulting in a large volume of traffic passing the archipelago. This year, they will undertake 3D mapping of each site, artifact collection, and multibeam remote sensing. INA is delighted to lend support to this important project! Learn more here: Fournoi Underwater Survey.

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. This sheltered harbor persisted through the Byzantine, Arab, and Norman eras. The aim of the Kaukana Project, born from a partnership between the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage of the University of Udine and the Sea Superintendence of Sicily, 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.

San Bartolome Survey (Spain)
Jose Luis Casaban (Texas A&M University)
The Mundaka sandbank (Biscay, Spain) is believed to be the location of the remains of the San Bartolome, a 900-ton Spanish galleon that sank on November 13, 1597. It was previously believed that the ship had been lost off the coast of Viveiro (Galicia, Spain), but recently discovered archival documents indicate Mundaka as the probable location of the ship’s remains. This project will conduct a geophysical survey of the sandbank, using magnetometry and sub-bottom profiling, in hopes of locating the ship’s remains. The San Bartolome was one of the Twelve Apostles, galleons built in Spain after the failure of the Spanish Armada sent to invade England in 1588. No Spanish galleons of this period have been recovered, so locating this shipwreck would provide invaluable information about this era.

Underwater Survey of the Richelieu River (Canada)
Marijo Gauthier-Bérubé (Texas A&M University)
Fort Saint-Jean (Quebec, Canada) was the site of a naval battle and siege in 1776, and investigations are underway to determine whether ship timbers discovered there could be related to those events. During surveys of the fort and its shipyards in 2016 and 2017, divers discovered new landing stage structures, rediscovered a wharf, and turned up a ship’s stem and timbers. This season, archaeologists will undertake mapping of the structures and further study of the ship fragments to determine their relationship to the fort and its shipyards. Dendrochronological analysis of the landing structures and ship fragments will also be conducted.

Archival Research of Venetian Shipwrecks in the Levant (Italy)
Renard Gluzman (Tel-Aviv University)

The principal objective of this project is to make possible the identification and detection of shipwrecks, by matching archaeological finds with evidence found in Venice’s historical records, and to provide new evidence of shipwrecks unknown to underwater archaeologists. As most databases of ancient shipwrecks are primarily based on archaeological finds, this project aims to supplement existing knowledge with written evidence as a tool for archaeologists to incorporate historical data. Since 2015, 535 indications of shipwrecks concerning Cyprus and the Levantine coast have been documented and incorporated into an online database.

Post-excavation Analysis and Conservation – Pabuç Burnu (Turkey)
Elizabeth Greene (Brock University)

In the first half of the sixth century B.C., a ship sank off the coast of Pabuç Burnu, Turkey, southeast of Bodrum, or ancient Halicarnassus. Preliminary studies of the excavated ship’s cargo have provided evidence of the development of production and exchange systems in the Archaic world. The circulation of agricultural products in a moderate-sized merchant vessel constructed of laced timbers indicates a practice of local transport, unlike the exchange of luxury items in the markets of Classical Athens and catalogued by early Greek lyric poets. Research on the ship’s cargo and construction aims to shed light on the growing commercial environment of standardized quality and quantity in the Archaic eastern Mediterranean.

Block 37/City Place Schooner Project (Canada)
Julia Herbst (Texas A&M University)

During excavation of a portion of the Queen’s Wharf in Toronto in 2015, the remains of a 19th-century schooner were discovered. It is believed the ship was a grain carrier built around 1826 and in use until the 1870s. This year, the team will document and analyze the artifacts and remains of the ship. Collected ship timber data will be used to generate a reconstruction of the ship. Archival research will be conducted to attempt to identify the wreck.

Post-excavation Conservation – Bozburun Shipwreck (Turkey)
Fred Hocker (National Maritime Museums of Sweden/INA)
This project will continue conservation of iron materials—including what might be a basket of tools—recovered from the ninth-century Bozburun shipwreck. Work will focus on creating castings of iron concretions for further study.

Post-excavation Research – Merchant Vessels of Theodosian Harbor at Yenikapı (Turkey)
Michael Jones (INA
Constantinople’s Theodosian Harbor has yielded several medieval-period shipwrecks, including those from the Yenikapı site. Comparing these materials with those of contemporaneous Mediterranean ships will help researchers understand their economic, cultural, and technological context. The team will continue data collection and analysis of the Yenikapı shipwreck materials housed at INA’s Bodrum Research Center in preparation for publication. Their work this year will include post-excavation hull timber documentation and sampling of the eighth-century shipwreck Yenikapı 23, sample analysis and data collection from the ninth-century wreck Yenikapı 14, as well as investigation of photogrammetric methods of documenting hull timbers. Documentation of hull remains will be used as the basis for accurate ship reconstructions.

Late Roman & Early Byzantine Amphora Volumetrics (Turkey)
Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University/INA)

Researchers will use an innovative new system for rapid photogrammetric modeling of vessel interiors as a method to collect and analyze shipwreck amphora data. The project will conduct a study of the amphora assemblages of the Archaic-period Pabuç Burnu and seventh-century Yassıada shipwrecks, among others. The goal of the study is to investigate the development and implementation of volumetric standardization in late antique and early Byzantine Aegean maritime exchange.

Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project (Italy)
Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University/INA)

The recipient of the 2018 Claude Duthuit Archaeology grant, this collaborative excavation, survey, and heritage management initiative focuses on the maritime landscape and seaborne communication off the southeast coast of Sicily (Italy). The project will continue its investigations of the “church wreck,” which carried prefabricated architectural elements for one or more late antique churches, as well as other Aegean and Levantine materials. Work will include excavation and 3D modeling and analysis of excavated and in situ materials. This remarkable site offers a rare window into the region’s intersection of private commerce, directed exchange, and local patronage, in addition to insight into Emperor Justinian’s ambitious reconstruction program. Learn more here: Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project.

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 Harbour 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. The Yukon River Project, initiated in 2005, aims to document the range of construction techniques used on these late 19th-century vessels. Work this year will focus on archival research and side scan surveys of the Upper Columbia River and Kootenay Lake. Learn more here: Yukon River Steamboat Survey.

Adriatic Coast Shipwreck Survey and Site Assessment (Albania)
David Ruff (INA)

In recent years, several shipwrecks have been discovered off the coast of Albania in the Adriatic Sea, though none has yet been investigated by archaeologists. The goal of this project is to survey these sites, recording conditions using video and photogrammetry, and assess their suitability for future excavation efforts.

 The Romano-Republican Grande Passe 1 Shipwreck (France)
Alex Sabastia (Centre Camille Julian at Aix-Marseille University)

The Grande Passe 1 wreck, first noted in the 1970s but unexplored by archaeologists, was rediscovered in 2016 and surveyed in 2017. Investigators turned up Greco-Italic amphoras, 4 anchors, and wooden hull remains. This year, the team will conduct excavations and studies in situ of the hull remains and artifacts of this interesting shipwreck from the Roman Republic.

Steamboat Phoenix 3D Hull Documentation and Site Assessment (USA)
George Schwarz (INA)

Passenger steamboat Phoenix, launched in Lake Champlain, is the earliest-surviving archaeological example of a steamboat. Its inner hull was documented in 2009 and 2010, and this year, the team will investigate its outer hull and exposed artifacts, utilizing 3D photogrammetry. Documentation of the external hull is an urgent endeavor, as ongoing colonization by zebra mussels will continue to distort surface hull features.

Lechaion Harbor and Settlement Land Project (Greece)
Paul Scotton (California State University, Long Beach)

Lechaion Harbor served as the port of Corinth, Greece for approximately 1,300 years, until an earthquake and tsunami buried it in 600 A.D. This project, a collaborative effort between the American School of Classical Studies at Athens and the Corinthian Ephoria of Antiquities, will employ several methods to explore this fascinating site, including excavation, geophysical survey, GIS analysis, and floral and faunal studies. Work this year will focus on defining and mapping the extent of the harbor  and its settlement. The team will investigate the buildings and roads of the inner harbor, anomalies within the harbor, as well as two civil basilicas, one built atop the other.

Sea Biscuit & Salted Beef Research Project (Bermuda)
Grace Tsai (Texas A&M University)

Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food was replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data were used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage was simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these on the tall ship Elissa for three months. This year, the focus will be on the nutritional and microbial analysis of the food. Learn more here: Sea Biscuit & Salted Beef Research Project.

Sutiles Project – an Examination of Roman-era Laced Boats (Italy)
Staci Willis (INA)

The Sutiles Project, a collaboration between the Department of Humanities and Cultural Heritage of the University of Udine and the Superintendency of Archaeology, Fine Arts, and Landscape of Veneto, aims to study the Roman-era laced hull remains of northeastern Italy through the continued examination of examples found along the northwestern Adriatic coast (in northeastern Italy) and the associated excavation records of these remains. So far, this research has uncovered a consistent pattern of identifiable construction features and materials usage that distinguish these vessels as a separate tradition of laced boatbuilding in this region during the Roman imperial period. Planned radiocarbon dating and pollen analysis will provide more information about the time and materials utilized in this boatbuilding tradition.

 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 to survey and study the region’s shipwrecks. Annually, over a quarter of a million paying visitors tour the Museum of Underwater Archaeology where they learn about the important discoveries INA has made with its Turkish partners.

Kızılburun Late Hellenistic Column Wreck (Turkey)

Uluburun Late Bronze Age Shipwreck (Turkey)

Tektaş Burnu Classical Greek Shipwreck (Turkey)

Yassıada Byzantine Shipwreck Excavation (Turkey)

Ertuğrul Ottoman Frigate Excavation (Japan)

Pabuç Burnu Archaic Greek Shipwreck Excavation (Turkey)

Bozburun Byzantine Shipwreck Excavation (Turkey)