50 Years of Offshore Technological Innovation Illuminates Millennia of Archaeological Discoveries
- Kimberly L. Faulk (The PAST Foundation)
- Document ID
- Offshore Technology Conference
- Offshore Technology Conference, 6-9 May, Houston, Texas
- Publication Date
- Document Type
- Conference Paper
- 2019. Offshore Technology Conference
- Marine Archaeology, Deepwater, Innovation, Exploration, Technology
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- 135 since 2007
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For millennia, humanity has and continues to leave imprints on the physical world. Archaeologists have often turned to technology for help in interpreting these past imprints. This is especially so in the realm of underwater archaeology where sites may range from submerged prehistoric landscapes to what was for thousands of years one of human kind's most technologically complex objects, the ship.
Since the close of the Second World War, offshore technology has increasingly created opportunities and tools for subsea scientists to better map, explore, and understand both our natural world and humanity's interaction with it. The growth of offshore oil and gas exploration technology did not go unnoticed by archaeologists who were quick to modify these technologies and create new methodologies to use them for site analyses.
Starting with shallow water locations and ultimately moving into ultra-deepwater, marine archaeologists in the energy sector have greatly benefited from technological improvements originally aimed at the exploitation of offshore oil and gas. Beginning with echosounders, side-scan sonars, and magnetometers in towed arrays, before moving into high-resolution side-scan sonars, multibeam bathymetry and multibeam backscatter systems, subbottom profilers, and gradiometers, improving technologies have directly impacted marine archaeology.
This paper provides a review of the technologies archaeologists have appropriated for the purposes of revealing humanity's past with examples of some of the discovered sites from around the globe.
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