Exosuit Robot excavates ancient Antikythera shipwreck

Lost in Space meets Indiana Jones in a deepwater excavation of a 2100 year old ship. Difficult not to get excited about the news from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and from Greece. The modern world has known about the Roman ship at Antikythera since 1900 and Jacques Cousteau studied it in the 1970s. The obstacle to more detailed excavation has been the depth of the wreck: over 1000 feet.

Archaeologists will use a new invention, the Exosuit, to stay down at the wreck for longer periods of time. Some have suggested that a digger could work for two days without resurfacing. Plans for the current work are for several three-hour dives per day. Previous equipment limited work time at the ship to 30 minutes. One of the many topics of study that the team will focus on is the Antikythera Mechanism, an early tool that allowed sailors to predict movements of the stars, and which was found on the ship during the early twentieth century explorations.

Advances in archaeological method often (perhaps always) involve collaboration between inventors, scholars, and industries on the edges of traditional disciplines. At SFSU we work with our graduate students to explore these provocative combinations of disciplines, subjects, technologies and subjects. For more information about our MA program, check out details at our MA in Anthropology website or email us: AnthroMA@sfsu.edu.

To learn more about the Antikethera Mechanism try these sites:

http://www.antikythera-mechanism.gr/

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01hlkcq

http://demonstrations.wolfram.com/AntikytheraMechanism/

Try these for a scientific publications about the Antikythera Mechanism:

Freeth, T., Bitsakis, Y., Moussas, X., Seiradakis, J. H., Tselikas, A., Mankou, E., Zafeiropulou, M., Hadland, R., Bate, D., Ramsey, A., Allen, M., Crawley, A., Hockley, P., Malzbender, T., Gelb, D., Ambrisco, W., and Edmunds, M.G.  2006. Decoding the ancient Greek astronomical calculator known as the Antikythera Mechanism. Nature 444 (7119): 587–591.  doi:10.1038/nature05357.

Freeth, T. 2009. Decoding an ancient computer. Scientific American 301(6): 76–83. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1209-76.

Links:Scientists hope to unravel mystery of the ‘Titanic of the ancient world’ (msn.com) http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/scientists-hope-to-unravel-myst...

A Superhero of Sorts in a Hunt for Artifacts (nyt.com) http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/09/science/a-superhero-of-sorts-in-a-hunt-for-artifacts.html