Archaeology Magazine

A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America

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Underwater Archaeology & Ecology Are Intertwined

Monday, January 06, 2014

(Derek Smith/RPM Nautical Foundation)CHICAGO, ILLINOIS—Archaeologists can learn a lot about a Mediterranean shipwreck by examining the surrounding underwater ecology, according to information presented at annual meeting of the Archaeological Institute of America by Derek Smith, a researcher at the University of Washington and a member of the RPM Nautical Foundation. He says that the types of growth of underwater creatures on amphoras and other artifacts can tell archaeologists whether or not they have been disturbed over time. And in return, the creatures that cling to ancient amphoras can provide ecologists with unique information about settlement and recruitment processes. The data collected by the RPM Nautical Foundation on the shipwrecks of the Mediterranean Sea and its underwater creatures will become part of the Organization for Mediterranean Archaeology, Geology, and Ecology database.