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 049: Underwater excavation of a shipwreck. Bougianen Project (Menorca, Spain)

General Information


Studentes Diving

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute for International Field Schools offers annual programs in archaeology. This course is designed for students from around the world interested in studying abroad, gaining knowledge in Roman cities, classical archaeology and underwater archaeology.

The Underwater School in Archaeology research from 2006 the North coast of the island of Menorca for two reasons. Firstly, because in this area there is one of most important port cities of the Roman period of the island known as Sanisera during antiquity, inhabited between the 2nd BC and the 7th AD centuries and with a fluid transit of commercial vessels in which we could easily identify submerged remains. And secondly, by the adverse conditions of the waters of the North Coast, which could unfortunately wrecked boats in this area since prehistoric times until recently because of the bad weather.

In 2012, scrap wood from the hull of a boat was discovered during the exploration and prospecting work of the seabed. Luckily, the remains of the shipwreck are located in an ideal position to carry out an underwater excavation by several factors: warm, clear, transparent and calm water, excellent brightness and visibility, and shallow, only 6 meters depth. Without risk of accidents, it’s very valid and recommended sunken area for the initial learning and experience of students who wish to become involved in the practice of underwater excavations.

Between the years 2012 and 2013, Sanisera Archaeology Institute documented the remains of the vessel which had been uncovered and protected, in order to excavate in the following years. The first hypotheses that arises on the remains of the shipwreck is that they correspond to a vessel of the 19th century, which, according to a story at the time, recounted the wreck of an Italian schooner called Bougianen which on June 4, 1899 collided in Cala Viola because of a strong storm that spoiled the rudder of the ship left adrift near the north coast of Menorca. At that time, it was sailing transporting a load of 185 tons of different trade products. The schooner was a model of vessel of wood that was built during the 18th and 19th centuries and which could have two or three masts for sailing, of about 28 meters in length and 8 meters of sleeve that could propel at high speed with the wind in favor.

The Sanisera Archaeology Institute offers for 2018 this new underwater archaeology course that consists of two main parts.

Part 1: Underwater excavation of the Bougianen shipwreck (Menorca, Spain)

Studentes DivingMost of the course will be focused to make practices of underwater excavation in the area where the remains of the hull of the shipwreck have been found with logistics and instruments (water dredge and others) commonly used in an underwater excavation. Since the excavation will be only 6 meters deep and in temperate waters, there will be a minimum of 12 immersions (two dives almost every day) about 45 minutes each.

In addition, at the methodological level, the excavation area will be divided into grids sectors in which the spatial distribution of the discovered remains and archaeological objects belonging to the load of the vessel or belongings of boaters will be drawn.

Time dedicated to this part of the program: 90%.

 

Part 2. Record underwater archaeological objects using photogrammetry with Agisoft PhotoScan 3D

During the course, we will register archaeological materials using pictures and following the standard photogrammetry procedures, afterwards we will learn to handle the information in order to create 3D graphic models using Agisoft PhotoScan Professional software.

Students will also attend lectures on Modern shipwrecks, Mediterranean shipbuilding techniques and handling of software Agisoft PhotoScan.


Time dedicated to this part of the program: 10%

 

 


Students of underwater archeology using survey techniques during 2012

Students of underwater archeology using survey techniques during 2012

Studying the wooden structure of the shipwreck

Studying the wooden structure of the shipwreck

Map of some discovered shipwreck debris during 2013

Map of some discovered shipwreck debris during 2013

Employing to dig a water dredge to discover the submerged remains of a shipwreck

Employing to dig a water dredge to discover the submerged remains of a shipwreck

Recording data and photographs in detail of a shipwreck area

Recording data and photographs in detail of a shipwreck area

Recording measures of the schooner's woods

Recording measures of the schooner's woods

Typical illustration of a schooner from the 18th-19th centuries

Typical illustration of a schooner from the 18th-19th centuries

Shipwreck of a schooner at the end of the 19th century

Shipwreck of a schooner at the end of the 19th century

 



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