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Archaeology: Underwater: AUV Fest 2008

For more information on AUV Fest, visit these links:

>AUV Fest 2008
>"Partnership runs deep" video
>"Treasures so near" (10/13/08 Providence Journal article)prudence shipwreck
The SAS-12 produced this image of the Prudence Island shipwreck during AUVfest 2008.

AUV (Autonomous Underwater Vehicle) Fest 2008 took place at Naval Undersea Warfare Center in Newport, RI in May. Maritime archaeologists worked with the AUV teams to gather data on four shipwreck sites. A public workshop on AUVs in maritime archaeology was held at the University of Rhode Island Bay campus to present the outcome of the event.

AUV Fest 2008 demonstrated advanced technology on Autonomous Underwater Vehicles. The Navy develops this technology to search for and destroy undersea mines. During AUV Fest 2008, a group of archaeologists used these instruments to examine historic shipwrecks in Narragansett Bay including two British warships lost during the American Revolution. Giving maritime archaeologists experience in the use of these systems and the opportunity to use them in their own research can substantially advance this field. These instruments operate on several scales using acoustic, magnetic, and optical sensors. They can complete high resolution broad area surveys and locate and identify individual targets. They can even create high resolution 3D images of buried objects.

The environmental conditions in Narragansett Bay (temperature, depth, turbidity, currents, and sea state) typify the marine temperate littoral regions that challenge mine hunting operations and archaeologists trying to locate shipwrecks as well. Presently, standard acoustic sensors and magnetometers comprise typical tools used for search and discovery in archaeology.

The advanced technology used in AUV Fest located small, buried artifacts or those composed of difficult to detect materials. Shipwrecks contain objects made from wood, metals, ceramic, glass, and numerous other organic/inorganic materials that may correlate with today’s marine mines.

For more information, contact Charlotte Taylor or call her at (401) 222-4140.