Michael Short Classics 51a final paper 2-1

Michael Short Classics 51a final paper 2-1 - Underwater...

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Underwater Archeology: An Aid to it All Michael Short May 25 th , 2010 Classics 51a Final Paper Emily Rush
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Archeology is a puzzle. It is the piecing together of discovered ancient artifacts to tell a story of a people that lived long ago. Archeology, however, is a million-piece puzzle set and is in no way a basic square shaped puzzle. This puzzle spans thousands of years, multiple continents, land and water. Deciphering this puzzle takes people with several specialties and backgrounds. Underwater archeology is just one part of this puzzle, and is simply a tool in understanding and deciphering the rest of this seemingly impossible mystery. Underwater Archeology is a fairly new study as it was not until recently that technology allowing underwater excavation became available. Being an aide the decipherment of the ancient world, underwater archeology provides information and clues that are not available on land. Clues in the form of preserved materials that are non- existent on land, technologies of the time, and information regarding trade routes and communications between different ancient cities. Among all ancient underwater discoveries, the most prominent has been the Ulu Burun Shipwreck found off the coast of Turkey. This discovery was crucial in changing old and commonly accepted accusations of trade routes and naval empires of the time. The Ulu Burun shipwreck also portrays much more complex and involved relationships between cities and empires of the ancient world than previously thought. The shipwreck of Ulu Burun epitomizes the concept and contributions underwater archeology makes towards deciphering the ancient world, in that it provides clues that, coinciding with information and artifacts discovered on land, help to answer questions of the past. Overall, there seems to be very little information that underwater archeology alone provides without the help or support from land archeology. For example, on the Ulu Burun Shipwreck the excavators discovered material they assumed to be ivory, but in fact it was, African Blackwood found in Sudan, Mozambique and Angola. Through archeological discoveries on land it was found that this same wood was used in King Tut’s tomb, connecting the Ulu Burun shipwreck to Egypt. Without the documentation and discovery of King Tut’s tomb through land archeology this specific wood would likely have never been connected to ancient Egypt. However, materials were later found linking ancient Egypt to the Ulu Burun shipwreck, but these artifacts just as with the African Blackwood would never have been connected to Egypt without information uncovered from the excavations in Egypt.
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Objects preserve differently in different environments. Certain materials are better maintained underwater compared to on land. “In anaerobic, cold and dark conditions underneath waterlogged sediments, organics, such as plants, leather, fabric and wood may be preserved” (Underwater Archaeology - Crystalinks). For example, large
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Michael Short Classics 51a final paper 2-1 - Underwater...

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