SAVING WOODEN SHIPWRECKS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN MARINE ECOSYSTEM: RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND APPLICATION OF INNOVATIVE METHODS OF IN SITU PROTECTION

Abstract: 

The significant progress made in underwater archaeology in recent decades has revealed a vast number of wooden shipwrecks around the world. This large volume of wood recovered from marine excavations has given rise to an increasing problem in terms of storage and conservation.

Recent international strategies place more emphasis on surveying, protecting and managing cultural resources in situ, where recovery, conservation and display is not financially feasible. Wood exposed above the sediment, due to excavation or changes in the hydrodynamic status of a site, is vulnerable to marine borers. Consequently, until a site returns to its pre-exposure state, archaeological wood requires immediate protection, if it is not to be completely lost in a relatively short period of time.

This project aims to develop and implement two innovative methods for the in situ protection of wooden shipwrecks in both low and high energy underwater environments.

The first method involves the wrapping of shipwreck timbers with geotextiles, materials which act as physical barriers to colonization by molluscs and crustaceans.

The second method involves the development of an encasement system made of fiber-reinforced polymers that will enclose shipwreck timbers inside the sediment, ensuring long-term preservation.

Following an experimental evaluation, the methods will be implemented on two wooden shipwrecks, a C16th Spanish ship and a C13th Byzantine ship, found respectively in the Ionian and Aegean Seas.

Prior to implementation, underwater excavations, recording and documentation of both shipwrecks will have been completed. Hydrographical and ecological studies of the pelagic and benthic environment of both sites will also have been concluded, documenting wood deterioration potential. Underwater geophysical surveys using sonar will be used to investigate the shipwreck profiles on the sea bed. Finally, the movable finds of the Rhodes shipwreck will be conserved and displayed in a local Museum.

 

MIS: 375692

Project info

Acronym:
MERMAID
Scientific Coordinator:
Pournou Anastasia
Research Team 2 Leader:
Sakellariou Dimitris
Research Team 3 Leader:
Zimi Eleni

Stats

I.D.:
1318
Mis:
375692
Duration (months):
36
Budget:
600 000.00
Diavgeia:
ΑΔΑ: Β4ΛΞ9-ΜΓ0

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