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ARC 48 — Underwater Archaeology: From Shipwrecks to Sunken Cities

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 4 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—Apr 23
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 8
Unit: 0
Grade Restriction: NGR only; no credit/letter grade
Tuition: $280
Instructor(s): John Hale
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 2—Apr 23
4 weeks
Drop By
Apr 8
0 Unit
Grade Restriction
NGR only; no credit/letter grade
John Hale
Underwater archaeology investigates the remains of our human past that lie beneath the sea, in lakes and rivers, even in springs and flooded caves. The scientific study of sunken ships and submerged sites began in the 1950s when Jacques Cousteau helped develop SCUBA technology. Cousteau himself investigated Roman shipwrecks in the Mediterranean near Marseilles, while Nic Flemming of University of Cambridge led a pioneering campaign at the submerged classical Greek city of Apollonia in Libya. The first professional archaeologist to dive was George Bass from the University of Pennsylvania, who excavated a Bronze Age shipwreck in Turkish waters that was contemporary with the Trojan War. In this course, we will examine how underwater archaeology sheds new light on the past, from a “Neolithic Stonehenge” off the Israeli coast to the remains of a pirate city at Port Royal, Jamaica, sunk by an earthquake in the 17th century. Some underwater discoveries truly rewrite history, including an ancient bronze computer from Antikythera, Greece, and a Civil War submarine from Charleston, South Carolina. We will also cover the instructor’s own underwater investigations, including excavation of the Roman harbor at Caesarea Maritima, Israel; a search for shipwrecks from the Greek and Persian Wars; and the mapping of a sunken Maya ceremonial center in Lake Atitlán, Guatemala.

John Hale, Professor and Director of Liberal Studies, University of Louisville; Knight-Hennessy Fellow in Residence, Stanford

John Hale is an archaeologist whose research projects include studies of Bronze Age Scandinavian watercraft, the Roman villa of Torre de Palma in Portugal, the Delphic Oracle, and a search for Phoenician harbors on the Portuguese coast. He has been profiled by National Public Radio and The New York Times, and his fieldwork has been featured in documentaries on the Discovery and History channels.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.