Manned submarines in Archaeological research

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Subsea Explorers Ian Koblick and Craig Mullen reflect on a successful expedition during the summer of 2015 using the state-of-the-art C-Explorer 3 submarine on Roman era shipwrecks.

Just a few months back we were face to face with hidden cultural artefacts of the distant past. Unobserved for centuries and hidden as deep as 200 meters below the surface were three shipwrecks containing hundreds of amphorae. We witnessed a historical sight, as we learned more about these ships and their cargoes of olive oil, wine and garum that never reached port. It was a breath-taking moment when the first amphora appeared out of the shimmering darkness and into the light beams of the submersible.

The stories of these Roman era shipwrecks that the expedition visited go back over 2,000 years. But only during expeditions in 2009 and 2010 were the wrecks identified from extensive side-scan sonar surveys conducted by the AURORA Trust. Our dives in 2015 were intended to further advance the world’s understanding of our collective marine cultural heritage. This is what motivated us to explore these deep shipwrecks up close using state of the art submersibles. A joint expedition between U-Boat Worx, AURORA Trust Foundation and the Superintendent of the Seas of Sicily allowed us to explore these wrecks in the safety and comfort of a three person submarine.

“Thanks to the submersible and skilled pilot of U-Boat Worx we were able to uncover new secrets from depths that were impossible to reach before.” stated Ian Koblick, co-founder of the AURORA Trust Foundation. “Despite the demanding dive schedule, weather and unchartered depths, we successfully achieved our objective of mapping each shipwreck and surrounding areas.” The C-Explorer 3, the submarine used during this operation, was equipped with cameras to take both video and digital images of each of these ancient wreck sites. Hundreds of high-resolution images were recorded of each of the shipwrecks as the submersible was guided with precision over the wrecks. After each dive the digital images were processed onsite, utilizing special software, into detailed 2D and 3D photo mosaics. These were provided to the Italian authorities that accompanied the expedition.

“The precision and the manoeuvrability of the C-Explorer 3 were of key importance for our photo mosaics. The C-Explorer 3 had no downtime that impacted our expedition. It was 100 per cent reliable. This meant we could concentrate on exploring the subsea world without limitation and achieved all our expedition objectives,” stated Craig Mullen, co-founder of Aurora Trust Foundation.

Those who joined us had the unique experience of being one of the few ever to see these remains of our cultural heritage past. Next year U-Boat Worx will again join forces with the AURORA Trust Foundation and Italian cultural heritage authorities to search for new shipwrecks of the Roman and Greek eras. The 2016 expedition will be off the coast of Napoli, Italy. Sponsor/Citizen Scientists of AURORA will be able to participate in the expedition. Like our explorers last year you will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

More information will follow soon. If you are interested in joining next year’s expedition, please make your interest known by emailing info@uboatworx.com or check out www.auroratrust.com.

 

  • C-Researcher series

    C-Researcher Series
    • C-Researcher 2
      500 M 1,640 Ft
      5,750 KG 12,700 Lb
      2
    • C-Researcher 2
      1,140 M 3,740 Ft
      7,200 KG 15,800 Lb
      2
    • C-Researcher 2
      3,000 M 9,840 Ft
      9,960 KG 21,950 Lb
      2
    • C-Researcher 3
      300 M 1,000 Ft
      6,300 KG 13,900 Lb
      3
    • C-Researcher 3
      1,140 M 3,740 Ft
      8,900 KG 19,620 Lb
      3
    • C-Researcher 3
      2,500 M 8,200 Ft
      11,300 KG 24,910 Lb
      3
    • C-Researcher 3 LH
      500 M 1,640 Ft
      4,100 KG 9,040 Lb
      3
    • C-Researcher 3 LH
      1,700 M 5,570 Ft
      10,500 KG 23,150 Lb
      3
    Learn about the C-Researcher series
  • Cruise Sub series

    Cruise Sub Series
    • Cruise Sub 5
      500 M 1,640 Ft
      8,500 KG 18,750 Lb
      5
    • Cruise Sub 5
      1,140 M 3,750 Ft
      11,000 KG 24,250 Lb
      5
    • Cruise Sub 5
      1,700 M 5,570 Ft
      16,000 KG 35,260 Lb
      5
    • Cruise Sub 7
      300 M 1,000 Ft
      9,500 KG 20,940 Lb
      7
    • Cruise Sub 7
      1,140 M 3,740 Ft
      14,500 KG 31,970 Lb
      7
    • Cruise Sub 9
      300 M 1,000 Ft
      11,000 KG 24,250 Lb
      9
    • Cruise Sub 11
      200 M 650 Ft
      13,300 KG 29,320 Lb
      11
    Learn about the Cruise Sub series
  • Super Yacht Sub series

    Super Yacht Sub 3
    • Super Yacht Sub 3
      300 M 1,000 Ft
      3,800 KG 8,380 Lb
      3
    Learn about the Super Yacht Sub series
  • C-Explorer series

    C-Explorer Series
    • C-Explorer 3
      300 M 1,000 Ft
      6,010 KG 13,250 Lb
      3
    • C-Explorer 5
      200 M 650 Ft
      7,340 KG 16,180 Lb
      5
    Learn about the C-Explorer series
  • HiPer Sub series

    HiPer Sub Series
    • Hiper Sub 2
      100 M 330 Ft
      2,500 KG 5,510 Lb
      2
    • Hiper Sub 4
      100 M 330 Ft
      3,200 KG 7,050 Lb
      4
    Learn about the HiPer Sub series
Model Overview
feet/poundsmeter/kilogram
  • Occupants (min.)

    2
    11
  • Depth (min.)

    100
    3000
    328
    9840
  • Weight (max.)

    2480
    16000
    5465
    35270
  • Height (max.)

    150
    290
    60
    120