National Geographic : 1963 Jul
shipwreck-a Bronze Age vessel sunk more than 3,000 years ago.* Now in 1961 the object of our expedition, supported by the Universi ty of Pennsylvania Museum and the National Geographic Society,t was a Byzantine wreck some 1,300 years old. We had not come to dive for sport or for treasure. Our aim was to proceed underwater just as archeologists work on land: To dig down layer by layer, carefully recording the position of each object in the cabin or hull before moving it or raising it to the surface. For if we were to make sense of what we found, it was essential to assemble a detailed plan of the ship and its cargo. Fitting together all the data from an arche ological site is the job of the expedition mem ber known as the architect. Ours was William Wiener, Jr., a graduate of the College of Archi tecture at Cornell University. Bill's work, we *See in the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC: "Thirty-three Centuries Under the Sea," May, 1960; and "Oldest Known Shipwreck Yields Bronze Age Cargo," May, 1962, both by Peter Throckmorton. tOther sponsors: the Catherwood Foundation, Amer ican Philosophical Society, Corning Museum of Glass, Littauer Foundation, Main Line Divers Club of Philadel phia, and Crowell-Collier executive Nixon Griffis. Ancient nails from the wreck are repro duced in plaster. Corrosion destroyed the originals, but lime secreted by sea animals made the molds that preserved their shapes. hoped, would enable us to re-create a Byzan tine ship on paper-much of it plank by plank and nail by nail. Even the order in which the cargo had been stowed might be important. Suppose that at its highest level we found products from Cyprus, and below that objects from Egypt; we could then surmise the ship's ports of call, and speculate about trade routes. Archeologists First, Divers Second Most of us had learned to dive expressly for underwater archeology; it is far easier to train scientists to dive than to train divers to be scientists. Besides archeology students and an architect, we had artists, still photogra phers, and a cinematographer. A diving in structor and a surgeon had come along for safety. It was a staff that any land excavation project would be proud to have. To get Bill accurate drawings and measure ments, we experimented with various kinds of plane tables, sighting devices, and map ping frames (pages 140 and 141). Sometimes it seemed as if we were employing every blacksmith and tinsmith in the nearby town of Bodrum (map, page 145). Pagan goddess served not as an object of worship but as a lead-filled counterweight for a balance to weigh cargo. Gorgon's head on her chest identifies her as Athena. KODACHROMESBY NATIONAL GEOGRAPHICPHOTOGRAPHERS THOMAS J. ABERCROMBIE(LEFT) AND ROBERTB. GOODMAN© N.G.S.