National Geographic : 1962 May
KODACHROMEBY LUIS MARDEN, NATIONALaEOGRAPHIC0SIAD 1 N.b .0 . Under the sea for 3,200 years, this fragment of a basket was recovered from the sunk en vessel. Made of matting and rope, it probably held tools, weapons, and household utensils. Divers found the relic sandwiched between copper ingots. slope forming one side of the site. A drafts man would sketch atop the rock as naturally as if he had been at his desk, while a team of divers, on their knees like gardeners, cleaned weed from the gully, and a photographer braced himself for a picture. Two red mullet took up residence when they discovered that in the course of the work we dislodged edible worms. Draftsmen were startled by groupers hanging over their shoul ders, as if checking the drawings for accuracy with mournful eyes. Rock Proves to Be Mass of Copper In the evenings we ran back to the beach and to our one big meal of the day (divers eat lightly while working), usually rice, beans, tomatoes, and fish. Then photographer Herb Greer headed for the darkroom to develop his film, while the archeologists planned the next day's work. In a week we had cleaned up most of the loose material. One day Dumas noticed that the platform was hollow underneath. He chipped at the overhang and exposed the cor ner of an ingot. Part of what we had taken for rock was actually copper, welded into a 702 mass by sea-deposited limestone. More chip ping showed that half the platform was metal. While we pondered how to handle this find, Dumas noticed an oddly shaped stone at the gully's mouth and gave it an experimental bash with his hammer. A cloud of green "smoke" rose-copper sulphate. Dumas had exposed another ingot, under another heap of concreted metal objects. Although familiar with the limestone growth which covers all objects exposed un derwater in the Mediterranean, we were not prepared for growth that was eight inches thick in some spots. We re-examined the gully and found it full of metal. In places ingots were stacked five deep. We went wild with joy, and sent off happy telegrams to our spon sors.* Then, not so happily, we turned to the problem of raising the material. Our expedition had expected to salvage a few hundred pounds of objects, and to exca vate hull fragments embedded in sand. Now we were faced with tons of material embed *These included, besides the University of Pennsyl vania Museum, the American Philosophical Society, the Littauer Foundation, the Council of Underwater Arche ology, ard individual contributors.