Monday, November 7, 2011

Maritime archaeology

Maritime Archaeology is the study of ships, cargoes and human remains, which are hidden under the waters of the seas, lakes and rivers. These sites are like time capsules that must be annoying vandals or scavengers for hundreds of years. Water and sediment to protect ships and their cargoes by erosion and are often in amazing condition.

Wreck diving is taking place for thousands of years. Roman freedivers have plummeted 20 feet to retrieve sunken cargo ship. Diving bells were used for the rescue of submerged objects in the 16th century. But it was the introduction of the Aqua-Lung in the 1960's that gave the freedom to explore underwater archaeologists and really understand the significance of the remains.

Tombs in the earth, in general, contain the remains of the old and sick, but the men who died at sea were generally relatively young and fit. The examination of archaeological remains provide a unique view of life and health of previous generations. An example of this are the remains recovered from the young sailors of the 17th century, his legs were deformed by rickets, but his arms and back were very difficult due to heavy work and get on board the ship they did.

Today, divers use an "air bridge" to suck the slime from submerged shipwrecks and artifacts. It is crucial that the objects are taken to the surface as quickly as possible for conservation, because once exposed, they are vulnerable to attack by sea currents and micro-organisms and quickly worsens. Protection of objects recovered from the sea is a tricky business and tedious when exposed to air, chemical reactions start metal decomposes rapidly, and if the tree is allowed to dry too quickly, it will simply collapse.

Restoration and conservation of the Rosa Maria is an excellent example of how this work can be completed successfully. Boat to Henry VIII in 1545, sank in the Solent on the south coast of England. Archaeology Excavation in the wreck began in 1979 when he was brought up in a giant crib diving, while the artifacts were recovered. These are human remains and weapons, cooking utensils and personal belongings that have been carefully preserved. The Mary Rose was lifted gently from the water in 1982 and remained in dry dock, where it is sprayed with cold water continuously for 12 years. In 1994, he began working to permanently maintain the ship for its special plastic spray. This work is ongoing.

It is likely that most famous wreck is the HMS world Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. The remains were placed in 1985 and 3800 m in the ocean floor off the coast of Newfoundland. At this depth is not possible for divers to use scuba gear due to the enormous pressure under the water, so that archaeologists explored the remains of the submarine, both manned and remotely controlled. Many items were recovered and preserved, and are now exhibited in museums. Tourists regularly visit the wreck underwater organized visits.

For more interesting topics related to archaeology, visit archaeology excavations.

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