National Geographic : 2004 May
labors of Hercules A thousand feet beneath the Black Sea in a zone starved of oxygen, a thick frosting of silt covers a 1,500-year-old shipwreck, barely hinting at what lies beneath. Transmitting continuous images to scientists on the Knorr as it explores the early Byzantine wreck, Her cules vacuums away centuries of sediment (top left) to reveal a shipwright's rough adze marks (above). The ROV's mechanical "hands" apply the precise amount of pressure needed, from gently lifting an amphora (left) to spin ning a paintbrush car wash style (below) against a jutting beam. Says nautical archae ologist Cheryl Ward on board the Knorr: "This is the best preserved shipwreck from the ancient world."