In just a couple of short weeks, we’re off on the Return to Antikythera Expedition. This year’s project has been in development for over a year, and builds on work dating to the very early 20th century when the Bronze age wreck site was first discovered by Greek sponge divers.
Over the past several months, I have had the fortunate pleasure of working with the team members of this 2014 Antikythera Expedition including the Chief Scientist, Brendan Foley, his colleagues from the Hellenic Ministry of Culture, and representatives of the Greek Navy, training them on use of the Exosuit ADS for this year’s archaeological mission.
The mission for this fall – dive, dive, dive, and accumulate as many up close and personal hours on the wreck site as humanly possible. At depths of 60 to 100 meters, the site is indeed within more conventional reach, however productive bottom time for the working scientists has remained a bottleneck. The Exosuit will likely solve that problem, and afford unparalleled interpretation of the site by the team’s archaeologists to guide further detailed survey and excavation. It is anticipated that one week of Exosuit operations will provide for more bottom time at this site than has ever been conducted. That alone opens up the promise for new discoveries – perhaps even a new Antikythera Mechanism.
The Antikythera mechanism itself has been a focal point of study, and even an obsession, by scholars for more than a century, as it stands alone separated by over a thousand years of lost art before comparable innovations are reintroduced to modern civilization. Where did it come from?
As our new friends at the Greek Navy have indicated, diving is a central element to Greek culture, and putting the Exosuit to work for the first time in Greece while expanding upon a lineage of archaeological work that so deeply impacts their cultural heritage, this project will likely resonate for decades. I am actually more excited about the social and cultural exchange on this expedition than the diving – and that’s a bold statement coming from yours truly.
More information can be found on the 2014 Return to Antikythera Expedition, and the history of Antikythera itself here:
The author acknowledges the J.F. White Contracting Company for reaching out to the science community to afford new opportunities for discovery with the Exosuit, and Hublot for their sponsorship of the Exosuit operation. More about the the Return to Antikythera Project can be found here: http://antikythera.whoi.edu/.