Science & Tech

Archaeology team helps find oldest deep-sea shipwrecks

1 min read

Deep-sea exploration propelled by new technologies

About 2,700 years ago, two Phoenician ships sank to the Mediterranean’s muddy bottom, where they lay upright, preserved in the relative stillness and tremendous pressure of the deep, dark waters. They were found 1,000 feet down in June 1999 by a team made up of Harvard archaeologists led by Lawrence Stager, Dorot Professor of the Archaeology of Israel, and a crew from the Connecticut-based Institute for Exploration, headed by oceanographer Robert Ballard. Because many shallow-water wrecks have been found, historians and archaeologists believed that ancient sailors preferred routes that hugged the coastline. Modern technology, however, is opening a new field of deep-water archaeology, which is showing that ancient sailors did indeed venture far from shore.