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  1. #1
    pt
    Oct 2009
    Lisbon
    703
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    Marine Archaeology: the conundrum

    Marine Archaeology: the conundrum

    June 8, 2012, by Dexter Findley


    The sea is our planet’s last frontier: we know less about the ocean floor than we do the surface of the Moon. Like other frontiers – the Wild West comes to mind – it is riddled with lawlessness and opportunism. It also happens to be final resting place for countless wonders of the human past. As can be imagined, these things rarely mix well.

    Back on dry land, reams of legislation stand between the material heritage of our predecessors and its would-be exploiters. Countries like Turkey and Egypt have draconian regulations concerning the excavation, movement, and sale of artefacts. Such legal safeguards, even weak ones, are absent on the high seas. There is nothing to outlaw the destruction of marine sites, for example. Legislation concerned with excavation and preservation of marine sites is non-existent, and the matter of artefact ownership is a legal and political minefield. The matter is only exacerbated by the sea’s inherent lack of national association, its lack of law enforceability, and its vastness.

    There is a singlepiece of legislation that attempts to keep the wolf from the door, a UNESCO convention that declares underwater cultural heritage may not be sold off or exploited for commercial gain. In the latest episode of the marine archaeology debate, even this one law is being openly flouted.

    An 18th century incarnation of HMS Victory, a predecessor of Nelson’s celebrated ship, sank in the English Channel in 1744. The Ministry of Defence, charged with excavating the wreck, promptly delegated the responsibility to the Maritime Heritage Foundation (MHF) charity. They, in turn, outsourced the job to a commercial US salvage company, Odyssey Marine Exploration.

    L
    oop-holes and liabilities

    This move has been met with heavy criticism from academics and the public alike. Their concerns are twofold. Firstly, can a commercial company, driven by the profit motive, be trusted to excavate with rigorous academic standards? Secondly, can their payment method – ‘a percentage of the recovered artefacts’ fair value’, or ‘artefacts in lieu of cash’ – be justified? Lord Renfrew, a prominent archaeologist and chairperson of All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG), has denounced these arrangements as being akin to ‘plundering’. After all, the MHF is essentially paying for the salvaging operation by selling off parts of the wreck itself, which does resemble the way looters do things, and, according Lord Renfrew, almost directly contravenes the above UNESCO directive. Amusingly, two of the bronze cannon already recovered have been sold to National Museum of the Royal Navy for £50,000…yet as it was the Royal Navy who built the ship, it could be argued they were buying their own property.

    As we can see, the commodification of marine heritage is problematic. If a land site was treated in the same way – outsourced to a commercial company who would then be paid either in artefacts or in the sale of those artefacts on the open market – there would be uproar. But given the unique situation marine sites find themselves in, is there any other choice but commercialisation? Underwater excavation is fantastically expensive and small trusts, such as the MHF, have but a fraction of the largesse necessary to undertake such projects. But, more importantly, there is a dire need to excavate underwater sites before they are destroyed.

    Many marine sites are in serious danger from trawlers. Fishing companies, in their hunger to harvest the world’s dwindling fish populations, practise a technique called ‘bottom trawling’. The effect of this is a ‘raking’ of the sea floor, leading to the destruction of marine sites on a daily basis, as well as having an adverse effect on aquatic life.

    To sit idly by and let these sites be destroyed would be a travesty. Many marine sites remain unknown, yet could possibly hold unimaginable troves of both artefacts and knowledge: how long will it be until the next Uluburun Shipwreck is accidentally razed? Due to the fiscal importance of the fishing industry, it seems unlikely any international legislation banning the practice will appear any time soon.

    Towards a solution


    So what can cash-strapped archaeology and heritage organisations do in the face of such large-scale destruction? Compared to inaction through lack of funds, carefully monitoredcommercialisation is a far lesser evil. The sale of some recovered artefacts may have to be tolerated as payment for the discovery, recording, and preservation of material that would otherwise have been destroyed.

    If that is too much for some to stomach, perhaps an alternative can be sought. As mentioned above, a central problem is that the location of many marine sites remains unknown. If a survey program was launched to discern the co-ordinates of potentially endangered sites, and international lawmaking bodies could be persuaded, trawling ‘no-go’ zones could be created – a kind of aquatic National Park or Heritage Site. Such a survey project would be costly, but no way near as expensive as actual excavation. This would leave time for rescue work to be conducted on a wreck-by-wreck basis, over many decades, whenever the funding arose. This, however, presumes the program’s proponents can successfully navigate the political labyrinth of international law and convince the authorities to enact these no-trawling zones.

    As we can see, marine heritage is currently in a difficult situation with no discernible ‘right’ answer. If nothing is done, the large-scale destruction of many marine sites is a certainty. The academic discovery, surveying, and recording of a good proportion of them, let alone all, is totally unfeasible. Commercialisation, while being able to process more sites, is ethically and academically contentious. Yet if nothing is done, we risk losing these maritime wonders forever.

  2. #2
    Charter Member
    us
    Pirate of the Martires

    Feb 2005
    Pinellas Park, Florida
    Aquapulse, J.W. Fisher Proton 3, Pulse Star II
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    Good article Alexandre. So, is the archaeological community planning to undertake a world wide shipwreck survey? No! So monitored commercialization is the only viable alternative. Climb on board the bandwagon Alexandre.

  3. #3

    Apr 2012
    59
    18 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    The same thing is happening on land my friends!


    Greek Antiquities, Long Fragile, Are Endangered by AusterityBy RANDY KENNEDY
    KYTHIRA, Greece — A jarring public-awareness ad that has appeared recently on Greek television news shows a little girl strolling with her mother through the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, one of the country’s cultural crown jewels. The girl skips off by herself, and as she stands alone before a 2,500-year-old marble statue, a hand suddenly sweeps in from behind, covering her mouth and yanking her away.

    An instant later, she reappears, apparently unharmed but staring forlornly at an empty plinth: The kidnappers weren’t after the girl — they were after the statue.

    The ad, produced by the Association of Greek Archaeologists, is most immediately a reminder of an armed robbery of dozens of artifacts from a museum in Olympia in February, amid persistent security shortcomings at museums across the country. But the campaign’s central message — “Monuments have no voice. They must have yours” — is a much broader attack on deep cultural budget cuts being made as part of the austerity measures imposed on Greece by the European economic establishment, measures that have led in recent weeks to an electoral crisis, a caretaker government and the specter of Greece’s departure from the euro zone.

    Effects of the cultural cuts are already being felt by the public, as museum galleries and sometimes whole museums suffer from sporadic closings.

    But Greek and international archaeologists and curators warn that the real consequences of the cuts will not become fully apparent for years and will be far more dire for ancient artifacts and historical scholarship. Over the last six months dozens of the country’s most experienced state archaeologists — those with the highest number of years of service and highest salaries, 1,550 euros a month, or a little less than $2,000 — have been forced into early retirement as part of a 10 percent staff reduction within the government’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Through regular retirements and attrition over the last two years, the archaeological staff has shrunk even more, to 900 from 1,100, according to the association, the union that represents the archaeologists.

    At a time when taxes are being raised, pensions are being cut and the national unemployment rate stands at more than 21 percent, this exodus has faded quickly into the bleak economic landscape. But scholars say the cuts are beginning to cause precisely what the television ad dramatizes: the disappearance of antiquities. The primary culprits are not museum robbers and looters of antiquities sites, but two even more treacherous forces that now have fewer checks on their power: the elements and developers’ bulldozers.

    In a dry riverbed one late April morning on the island of Kythira, Aris Tsaravopoulos, a former government archaeologist who was pushed out of his job in November, pointed out a site where a section of riverbank had collapsed during a rainstorm a few months earlier. Scattered all along the bed as it stretched toward the Mediterranean were hundreds of pieces of Minoan pottery, most likely dating to the second millennium B.C., some of them painted with floral patterns that were still a vivid red.

    Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who directed archaeological projects and supervised foreign digs on the island for more than 15 years, said he believed the site might be part of a tomb or an ancient dumping ground. (Extensive digs in the mid-1960s by British archaeologists helped establish that the island was a longtime colony of Minoan Crete.) The collapse of the bank had already caused some of the artifacts to wash out to sea. Filling the pockets of his khaki vest with larger pieces of pottery to date and place in storage, Mr. Tsaravopoulos said, “The next big rain will carry away more, and before long it will all be gone.”

    In years past Mr. Tsaravopoulos would have organized an emergency dig at such a site. Now, he said, he can no longer do anything but alert already overburdened colleagues in the state archaeological service, with little hope any rescue work will be done in time: Since his forced retirement last fall, Kythira, a sparsely populated island slightly larger than Malta and six hours southwest of Athens by ferry, had not been visited by a government archaeologist.

    Of course, long before the economic meltdown, sites were lost or poorly kept, partly as a result of the immensity of the task of preserving the county’s past. In Kythira alone, there might well be dozens of such unexplored sites; the Greek truism that you can’t turn a corner without tripping over an antiquity often seems almost literally true. (The country has 19,000 declared archaeological sites and monuments and 210 antiquities museums.)

    “I believe that this ministry could double or triple the number of archaeologists it hires — and the number of guards — and still be understaffed,” said Pavlos Geroulanos, Greece’s culture and tourism minister until the May 6 elections brought in a caretaker government. Mr. Geroulanos has overseen the layoffs and forced retirements as his annual operating budget has dwindled 30 percent over the last three years. “There’s so much out there, and so much work to be done,” he said.

    But now Greece’s already hidebound and inefficient archaeological bureaucracy, for years among the largest in Europe (where the state plays a central role in the field in many countries), is confronting a drop in resources so sharp that it is beginning to cede the responsibility for cultural heritage it has had for more than 150 years.

    In Messenia, on the Peloponnesian peninsula, excavation work has come to a halt on a fifth- or sixth-century B.C. mountaintop temple discovered in 2010 not far from the well-known Temple of Epicurean Apollo, a Unesco World Heritage site. Xeni Arapogianni, the state archaeologist who oversaw the region and directed the initial excavation of the newly discovered temple, was forced into early retirement last fall before she could complete research for publications about the find.

    “There’s still work that needs to be done there, but no one goes to do it,” Ms. Arapogianni said in an interview. “A department cannot function without a director.”

    She added that the temple was not important simply as another place that might someday dot a tourist map but because the history of fifth-century temple cults in the region is still an emerging field of research, and the site could provide crucial insights. “This is not just another temple,” she said.

    To many Greek archaeologists and university colleagues from other countries who dig with the government’s permission, an even more troubling repercussion of the austerity budget is that research leaves of absence for government archaeologists are being canceled, and money for their research excavations is no longer being provided unless they can find other sources to share the cost.

    One effect is that Greek archaeologists are being pushed to focus almost exclusively on the more bureaucratic side of their jobs: inspecting construction sites for the presence of buried antiquities. It is a crucial task, but one that, even with the slowdown of development during the crisis, consumes almost all their time now. This means that scholarship is put on indefinite, and in some cases probably permanent, hold.

    An American archaeologist with decades of experience in Greece, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of alienating government officials at such an uncertain time, said: “Nobody in Greece digs nearly as much as the government archaeological service. And if they aren’t able to publish what they find, they might as well not be doing it at all; they might as well just rebury it.”

    Despite its relatively low pay, the profession of archaeology has long been held in high esteem in Greece; it is a job that children aspire to, like becoming a doctor. And in a country where the public sector has been plagued for decades with corruption, archaeologists have retained a reputation as generally honorable and hard-working.

    “They used to say that we were a special race,” said Alexandra Christopoulou, the deputy director of the National Archaeological Museum. “We worked overtime without getting paid for it — a rarity in Greece — because we really loved what we did.”

    Veteran Greek archaeologists tend to view the crisis with a grim resolve to make do with the resources at hand. But many in the next generation are unable to do even that. The archaeological service has all but stopped hiring, and the hundreds of young archaeologists who work on part-time contracts are finding those contracts renewed more infrequently.

    Gely Fragou, a 31-year-old Greek archaeologist trained at the University of Southampton, in England, worked for several years on short government contracts, but the last one expired in 2010. She continues to hope for work, but she said that several friends have taken day jobs to make ends meet: One works in a bakery, another on an assembly line, and a third as a trash collector in Athens. “If it wasn’t for my family,” she said, “I would have left Greece.”

    Mr. Geroulanos, who served as the culture minister for two and half years, an unusually long stretch amid Greece’s shifting political alliances, said the deep staff cuts were unavoidable in order to make the strongest case that his ministry could live within its means, as the rest of Greece is now having to do.

    “We’re at a time now,” he said in an interview in his office in Athens, “where I can safely say that every dollar given to the ministry will be well spent.”

    Even with the ministry’s budget falling every year of his tenure, he said, it has been able to complete important projects, like modernizing the facilities at more than 100 publicly accessible ancient sites. Over the last three years Greece has also managed to compete successfully for tens of millions of euros from the European Union available for archaeological projects.

    But critics of austerity say these few bright spots pale against the irreversible damage already under way.

    On the island of Kythira, Mr. Tsaravopoulos recently visited a plot of sparsely wooded field, acting on a tip from a friend that a bulldozer had been at work there without a permit or antiquities inspection. He arrived to find a makeshift dirt road freshly carved into a hillside, scattered with dozens of broken pieces of glazed pottery dating to Hellenic and early Roman times.

    As he was leaving, the owner of the land arrived with his family, and he and Mr. Tsaravopoulos, who knew him, had a curt discussion in the middle of the road before the man walked on.

    “He told me he didn’t realize he’d damaged any artifacts and that he was sorry,” Mr. Tsaravopoulos said later. “Then he told me very nicely: ‘Oh Aris, I heard the news that you had to retire. I’m very sorry about that.’ He knows that I have no power anymore to prevent people from digging wherever they want.”

  4. #4
    Charter Member
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    Underwater Heritage Rescue Diver

    Jul 2006
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    Great read Alexandre, well thought out and written with fact rather than emotion. I still say we can agree on WHAT can be sold or given to salvors as payment without damaging the historical record, or the public / academic right to study and preserve the heritage. There is a point when too many coins can become a liability as opposed to an historical asset.

    Should salvors get jeweled crosses and golden cups meant for a king, of course not. Should archaeologists spend their limited budgets guarding and maintaining hoards of 100,000+ plus virtually identical coins, the answer is again NO. You can't find a politician, citizen, or even intelligent academic who thinks this would be a good use of the limited funding recieved for historical projects. I realize all artifacts are important pieces of history, but when you have a wreck like the San Miguel de Archangel at Jupiter, FL. we have 15,000 coins...about 50 of them are special coins like transitional period cobs and Star of Lima cobs. When you really look at the rest of the coinage from the wreck, you have 5,000 coins of the same date from the same mint, even with the same assayer. It is not in ANYONE'S best interest to spend limited funding trying to keep and protect and preserve all 5,000 of those virtually identical coins. Take a wreck like the Mercedes and the problem is even more evident. We have to learn how to work together....in-situ preservation is a ridiculous notion with no bearing on reality.

    Thanks for the read Alexandre.....good stuff!

  5. #5
    Charter Member
    Aquanut

    Jul 2005
    Orlando, Florida
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    With governments going broke, how long before all these bull headed government employed and government funded archaeologists realize they need to orient themselves toward the "For Profit" side of this business. I wonder what they'll be thinking when they are no longer under the "Umbrella" and can no longer feed their families with our tax dollars. Betcha they'll come over to the darkside when their children go hungry...Archaeology is a nice and noble study, however in reality, it is still a study and non-essential in the big picture of survival of the species. Socialism and big government control doesn't work, how many more millions of coins does a broke economy in Spain plan to hoard in the name of "Cultural Heritage" before they realize their folly or lies.
    Aquanut

  6. #6
    us
    Dec 2010
    back on the 1715!!
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I'll read the rest of the post later as I could barely get through the beginning as it is so full of very broad generalizations with false information to prove a particular agenda.

    "we know less about the ocean floor than we do the surface of the Moon. Like other frontiers"

    not true

    "the Wild West comes to mind – it is riddled with lawlessness and opportunism."

    "Such legal safeguards, even weak ones, are absent on the high seas. There is nothing to outlaw the destruction of marine sites, for example. Legislation concerned with excavation and preservation of marine sites is non-existent,"

    "The matter is only exacerbated by the sea’s inherent lack of national association, its lack of law enforceability, and its vastness."

    The author is using blatantly false information in a grande manner to scare the "uneducated/ignorant."

    Admirality law, the law of finds and of salvage have existed for many many years, they just are not what the author wants them to be so he blantantly disregards their existance to make a biased point.

    So what is this author's background that can write such an article with such horrible research of facts?
    Psalm 107:23-24
    They that go down into the sea in ships; and make working in many waters.
    They saw the works of the Lord; and his marvels in the depth. (And they saw the works of the Lord; and his marvelous deeds in the depths of the sea.)

  7. #7
    aq
    Mar 2012
    273
    26 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    How does Admiralty Law, or the Law of Finds, in any way protect or provide for the archaeological recovery, preservation, and curation of a shipwreck site?

    If you look at the foundation of any Admiralty Laws, it is possession.
    Admiralty Law was created so that ships would help other ships in peril, without liability, and provide a fee for doing so. The salvor had to be in direct possession, and keep direct possession to be awarded a fee for the service.
    Law of Finds simply allowed a legal mechanism for the owner to retrieve items that were washed ashore or found after a wreck. This also provided compensation for the person securing the cargo, but again, direct possession.

    The salvor would bring the vessel to Port, and turn the vessel over to the Admiralty Court for disposition. Claims would be made against the vessel, and the Court would award the salvor a percentage based on the value, the owner would have a choice to pay that value to the salvor in cash, or art of the cargo, or the Court would auction the items off, and the salvor would get a percentage.

    The Admiralty Arrest has been mis-applied in the past to shipwreck sites. There is no active peril to the ship, or need to save life and limb. While attempts have been made to extrapolate in peril to mean in peril from Nature or fishing, that was never the intent, and those arguments fail the legal challenge.
    The Court is now looking at this much differently, and has determined, that it has no jurisdiction in International waters. Other government agencies have asserted their property ownership worldwide, with reciprocity within territorial waters between nations. International waters would require the owner nation to enforce its rights on its property.

    Due to recent advances in locating shipwrecks, there is little case law to cite. The HMS Victory site is being tested as we speak with the Dutch salvage company retrieving a cannon from the site. The British government has asserted ownership rights, and is 'negotiating' the return. It will be interesting to see what happens with the outcome. As we have all seen the results of the Mercedes, it is likely that the UK government will be instituting much the same scenario.

    Back to the subject...

    There are some very good examples to illustrate what has happened, and what will happen if artefacts are allowed to be sold off to finance the archaeological recovery of a site. We can look at the Louvre, British Museum, and many others, for collections of artefacts on display or in storage.
    Where are all of the rest of the artefacts? One can buy Egyptian, Roman, Greek, or South American artefacts virtually everywhere.
    The Tut exhibition is making the last worldwide tour, with that amazing collection, and all of the artefacts from that site are at the Museum of Cairo, to be studied forever, as a whole or individually. With today's technology, we can go back to these artefacts, and trace the metallurgy with a PXRF, and determine exactly where the composition came from, or what artefacts came from the same batch of gold, not that the artefacts were 'made of gold".
    We could never do that before, but now we can, and this has changed our views of history significantly.
    What if those artefacts were sold off to fund the excavation?

    Most of the tombs in Egypt have no record of what was in them. The tombs were excavated and the artefacts sold off. Today, we call that looting.

    Now the proposition for the HMS Victory is to sell off the artefacts to fund the site recovery. Why wait 100 years to call this looting?

  8. #8
    us
    Dec 2010
    back on the 1715!!
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    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Admirality law has worked for the archaeological recovery, preservation, and curation of the Atocha.

    The point being it has worked in the past and will work in the future it is just not what "those types" want.

    Why is it that the only court in the world that took on such cases now claims lacking jurisdiction?

    If said court lacks jurisdiction by what authority then do they have to give the opinion that certain shipwreck material should be given to the "country of origin"?


    The truthful answer is NONE...

    So in essence what the court decided in conspiring with Spain is Fudge themselves and Spain over.

    The only court in the world that would take such cases now lacks jurisdiction so all they have is an opinion and you know what they say about opinions and arseholes....everyone has one.
    Psalm 107:23-24
    They that go down into the sea in ships; and make working in many waters.
    They saw the works of the Lord; and his marvels in the depth. (And they saw the works of the Lord; and his marvelous deeds in the depths of the sea.)

  9. #9
    VOC
    VOC is offline
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    "The HMS Victory site is being tested as we speak with the Dutch salvage company retrieving a cannon from the site. The British government has asserted ownership rights, and is 'negotiating' the return. It will be interesting to see what happens with the outcome. As we have all seen the results of the Mercedes, it is likely that the UK government will be instituting much the same scenario"

    That will be an interesting one, Maybe the Dutch will get payback for the "Rooswijk" ( Rooswijk - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ) where the UK government are currently using heritage laws (Protection of Wrecks act) to prevent the Dutch government from excavating a wreck that they legally own in UK waters, although the UK government can if it wants allow an archaeological group to excavate the wreck against any Dutch wishes, as once a wreck is protected in the UK, it does not matter who owns it, as it is the UK government will call all the shots.

    Most of the tombs in Egypt have no record of what was in them. The tombs were excavated and the artefacts sold off. Today, we call that looting.
    Now the proposition for the HMS Victory is to sell off the artefacts to fund the site recovery. Why wait 100 years to call this looting?

    If they recorded what was in the Tombs, measured where each item was found, drew and photographed and recorded each item, put a representative sample in a few museums and then sold off the rest would we have called that Looting ?

    Quick guide to UK wreck law:
    http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-hom...ps_row_law.htm
    Last edited by VOC; Jun 18, 2012 at 05:00 PM.

  10. #10
    aq
    Mar 2012
    273
    26 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    Admirality law has worked for the archaeological recovery, preservation, and curation of the Atocha.
    Can you point me to the excavation, recovery, and preservation plan for the Atocha?

    Perhaps the pre-disturbance site plan, post disturbance, site plan, well, I think you get the idea.

    I am sure that there are volumes regarding the entire collection of artefacts from the Atocha, ready for present, or future archaeologists to look at?

    Okay, the collection of the artefacts can be matched to the site plan for review of archaeological context?

    Okay, the artefacts can be studied to compare the location where the artefacts was created, backed with the pXRF shoot to collaborate the mineral content with the location mined?

    Okay, exactly how many of the artefacts from the Atocha are able to be examined? (the ones that havent sold or been distributed)

    When you speak of provenance, how exactly do you prove that? In the future, other than a certificate, long lost, exactly how much of the recovery can be proven?

    Right now, due to scientific methods, many fakes have shown up, even in very well respected museums. How will any provenance be proven? I could purchase or find any coin, and say it is from the Atocha, which may add value, while the same coin from a different wreck, or unknown, is worth the silver melt value.

    Great example!

    If they recorded what was in the Tombs, measured where each bit was found, drew and photographed and recorded each object, put a good sample in a few museums and then sold off the rest would we have called that Looting ?
    Isnt that what they did? There are plenty of drawings, and many photos, to SELL them. Why do you see a difference?

    Did you think about the example? Today, we have the ENTIRE collection from King Tuts tomb for study. Only now, we are stating to understand the entirety of the collection as it relates to when it was buried. New techniques and theories, and studies are able to happen BECAUSE of the entirety of the collection.

    The artefacts are NOT studied out of context, you dont seem to understand that importance.

    Can you take a pigment or metallurgic sample from a drawing or photo? Can you correlate the pollen, collect the DNA, or the air sample entrapped in the photo for study?

    In the future, with technology, the archaeologists, and the general public looking at the ancient history, will dismay at the selling off of what was recovered, because the artefacts are out of context, and cannot be connected.
    Last edited by AUVnav; Jun 18, 2012 at 05:21 PM.

  11. #11
    VOC
    VOC is offline
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    AUVnav

    I have always understood the theoretical context argument, but the majority of shipwrecks have lost a large proportion of the original vessel and contents, so the context argument is often irrelevant.

    Vessels are often portrayed as a time capsule, but in reality the contents due to its age and trading pattern can span a massive period of time and geographical area.

    Over the years after reading hundreds of Archaeological reports, I find you can often rip holes through them, as a large part of the information recorded and the synopses of its history is often based on un-provable assumptions, especially if you keep an inquisitive and open mind as to what may have happened to the vessel prior to and during its sinking.

    As I see it some of the big questions relating to underwater archaeology are:

    1. Is Archaeology important to society or merely just interesting to the few people involved.

    2. Should public money be used to support what may only be a minority interest group.

    3. Should we accept it is impossible to know every single thing about our past, so it is not that important if we lose some more.

    4. Should museums be filled with common objects just in case a future student wants to study them for their degree thesis.

    5. Should wreck be left to rot or be destroyed rather than using private sector salvors to record the wrecks and be paid by the sale of common finds.

    6. Should archaeologist spend their limited resources on filling in the gaps in our history as opposed to trying to record historic wreck where relatively little new knowledge will be gleaned.

    7. Should we accept that with at least one vessel sinking every day somewhere in the world and most wreck projects taking years to complete that we are losing the battle trying to record them all.
    Last edited by VOC; Jun 18, 2012 at 06:33 PM.

  12. #12
    us
    Dec 2010
    back on the 1715!!
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    Start here...

    Mel Fisher Maritime Museum and Mel Fisher Maritime Heritage Society in Key West, Florida

    MEL FISHER MARITIME HERITAGE SOCIETY and MUSEUM
    200 Greene Street
    Key West, Florida 33040
    305.294.2633

    "I could purchase or find any coin, and say it is from the Atocha, which may add value, while the same coin from a different wreck, or unknown, is worth the silver melt value."



    Surely you realize how false and stupid that statement is?

    and just my point about the begininng of the OP. EXTREME FALSEHOODS to prove an agenda!

    Yep I'm done here...
    Psalm 107:23-24
    They that go down into the sea in ships; and make working in many waters.
    They saw the works of the Lord; and his marvels in the depth. (And they saw the works of the Lord; and his marvelous deeds in the depths of the sea.)

  13. #13
    aq
    Mar 2012
    273
    26 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    I am in no way saying that Fischers is marketing anything but the real artefacts...

    But how about here... Atocha Silver Bar Pendant Made From Atocha Silver
    INGOT silver melted from ATOCHA Sipwreck 1622

  14. #14
    VOC
    VOC is offline
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    AUVnav

    Can you point me to the excavation, recovery, and preservation plan for the Atocha?

    Not even thought of in the era when the Atocha was found, this is a relatively new piece on nonsense to help find a way of not excavating rather than finding a way to excavate

    Perhaps the pre-disturbance site plan, post disturbance, site plan, well, I think you get the idea.
    What a waste of time and money that would have been on a wreck that is spread over 14 miles and is in shifting sands 20 feet deep.

    It would prove absolutely nothing as is most site plans, all that is really needed is a site plan good enough to show basic layout and where you have worked. Knowing that this cannon was 3454mm from that cup that was also 27897mm from that anchor is actually totally meaningless other than for padding out the site report

    I am sure that there are volumes regarding the entire collection of artefacts from the Atocha, ready for present, or future archaeologists to look at?
    Check out the world’s largest database of shipwreck material http://www.historicshipwrecks.com/

    Okay, the collection of the artefacts can be matched to the site plan for review of archaeological context?
    All recovery points are recorded against general site plan

    Okay, the artefacts can be studied to compare the location where the artefacts was created, backed with the pXRF shoot to collaborate the mineral content with the location mined?
    And what meaningfull or important information can be derived from that.

    Okay, exactly how many of the artefacts from the Atocha are able to be examined? (the ones that havent sold or been distributed)
    Their Museum is full of stuff, so is their stores and all have been studied by the qualified Archaeologist who work there.

    When you speak of provenance, how exactly do you prove that? In the future, other than a certificate, long lost, exactly how much of the recovery can be proven?
    No difference to the boxes of material in museum stores when the labels fall off or the writing fades, as I have seen many times


    We need to get a grip with the emotive side of all this as a lot of it is total nonsense.

    If in 100 years’ time I wanted to study the shoes you wore at the age of 5, your first mobile phone, or your first pushbike I probably could not as more than likely it has been thrown away and destroyed, but if they happened to be on a wreck they would need to be preserved forever !

    We know coin dyes wear, so we don’t need to keep every dollar ever minted just in case someone wants to study the wear, but same again if those dollars were on a wreck they must be kept by the state forever.


    Bring back common sense and sanity to the world of underwater archaeology.
    Last edited by VOC; Jun 19, 2012 at 05:28 PM.

  15. #15
    aq
    Mar 2012
    273
    26 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting
    VOC,

    The reason you create site plan, is to identify the location of where the artefacts came from, the layers, and the context. Without context, you have a disconnected artefact.

    I would suggest that you look up what a pXRF is.

    Currently, many famous museums, have discovered they have fakes on display, simply by using the pXRF.

    With the pXRF, we were able to trace the mineral content and signature of artefacts in the Med. This is completely changing the understanding of many cultures, such as the extent and influence of the Phoenicians, perhaps who they actual were, the Semitic cultures that have been eradicated, or assimilated.

    When you find a shipwreck in the Med, how can you identify where the cargo came from? Simply Roman era is not enough, where did it stop, where is the cork from?
    With the artefacts from the Treasure Fleets, do you have any idea exactly what part of South America they came from? Can you connect the artefacts with specific cultures, locations, or timeframe?

    All that is available NOW with the pXRF signature, its like DNA...

    When the artefacts are distributed and sold, you lose the ability to study them individually, as a whole, or the context. In the case of the Treasure Fleets, selling off the artefacts has left no ability trace the finite possibilities of the South American culture. The emerald, silver, or gold signature, may have led to the location it was created.

    All that is important is silver, gold, or emerald, and how much that is worth.

 

 
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