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Archaeological oceanography and environmental characterization of shipwrecks in the Black Sea

By
Michael L. Brennan
Michael L. Brennan
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
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Robert D. Ballard
Robert D. Ballard
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
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Katherine L. Croff Bell
Katherine L. Croff Bell
Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, South Ferry Road, Narragansett, Rhode Island 02882, USA
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Dennis Piechota
Dennis Piechota
Fiske Center for Archaeological Research, University of Massachusetts, Boston, Massachusetts 02125, USA
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Published:
January 01, 2011

The August 2007 expedition to the Black Sea continued a multiyear project designed to locate and study ancient shipwrecks in deep water. The expedition revisited and investigated two shipwrecks, Sinop D (at 325 m depth off Sinop, Turkey) and Chersonesos A (at 135 m depth off Sevastopol, Ukraine). These wreck sites are good case studies for our research because they are located in different parts of the Black Sea, in anoxic and suboxic waters, respectively. Preliminary data reported here are from seawater samples taken from around the wrecks and a year-long collection of temperature, salinity, and pressure data. Trace-element data from the seawater samples are consistent with reported processes and values for the Black Sea. The oceanographic sensor data confirm the stagnant nature of the anoxic water layer that has allowed for the high level of preservation of the Sinop D wreck site. We also discuss the design and placement of two sets of experiments left in situ to characterize the decay rates of common materials found on ancient shipwrecks, including wood and metal. By providing ways to understand the chemical and physical processes that characterize different parts of the Black Sea water column, these wrecks are important sites for (1) determining the preservation potentials of cultural materials in deep water, and (2) informing the design of methodologies necessary to conserve them.

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Contents

GSA Special Papers

Geology and Geoarchaeology of the Black Sea Region: Beyond the Flood Hypothesis

Ilya V. Buynevich
Ilya V. Buynevich
Department of Earth and Environmental Science, Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
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Valentina Yanko-Hombach
Valentina Yanko-Hombach
Avalon Institute of Applied Science, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and Department of Physical and Marine Geology, Odessa National I.I. Mechnikov University, Odessa, Ukraine
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Allan S. Gilbert
Allan S. Gilbert
Department of Sociology and Anthropology, Fordham University, Bronx, New York, USA
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Ronald E. Martin
Ronald E. Martin
Department of Geological Sciences, University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware, USA
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Geological Society of America
Volume
473
ISBN print:
9780813724737
Publication date:
January 01, 2011

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