A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
Diving into History
Volume 62 Number 4, July/August 2009
The Latest Underwater Discoveries
In recent years, for-profit underwater salvors have captured the public imagination, garnering breathless headlines announcing their recovery of "treasure" ships. But there's much more to the world of nautical exploration than the giddy promise of gold coins. Every field season, underwater archaeologists make extraordinary discoveries that expand our vision of humanity's past.
On the following pages, we highlight just a few of these ongoing underwater archaeology projects, from the recovery of a sixth-century B.C. Phoenician shipwreck, where excavators found a cargo that included elephant tusks and amber, to work on a 19th-century vessel in Oklahoma's Red River that has given archaeologists their first look at early steamship design.
In deciding which projects to feature, we canvassed several underwater archaeologists, and relied, in particular, on James Delgado, president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and a valued member of our editorial advisory board. For every story we selected, Delgado told us about 10 other equally fascinating underwater excavations. To delve even more deeply into the word of underwater history check out the University of Rhode Island's online Museum of Underwater Archaeology and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology's website.