Blog on Submerged History of the Adriatic

I attended Dr. Hrvoje Potrebica’s lecture on the underwater history of the Adriatic and was a little surprised to find the room packed. It was really nice to see people taking an interest.  I actually found most of it really interesting even though he was a little soft spoken.  I really liked when he was talking about the only location of a Neanderthal site and the mousterian tools associated with it.

Some of the Roman shipwrecks were actually quite interesting to hear about as well. Especially the shipwreck near the island of Muter in the first century B.C. because of the kitchen coarse ware found that could give some information about the crew itself. Which I imagine any type of artifacts that can be used to draw any type of notions about the people associated with them is scarce.  I also really liked some of the things I normally didn’t associate with Roman trading such as the sarcophagi that were complete with lids and the bone gambling dice.  I really wasn’t surprised to find that amphora were found with almost every medieval and Roman shipwreck he talked about. That can also be really great for the archaeologists.  Just like we do today, people who made amphora wanted to make them with low cost maters. Most amphora associated with trading were made from coarse clay, miner and rock inclusions. From a geologic standpoint, this can help relate them to the geology of their places of origin as well as the style in which they’re made and some of them even had stamped seals.

When Dr. Hrvoje Potrebica mentioned that the reconstruction teams were the back bone of the whole process it raised some concerns. Granted reconstructions take place outside of underwater archaeology, but I feel that it doesn’t play such a pivotal role. I understand why they would need to reconstruct artifacts due when they surface and dry out they start to crumble.  This also would subject them to the biases of the reconstruction teams and would in turn bias the archaeologists. I was really uneasy to accept the conclusions that they drew about the bronze statue  found by Rene Wouters because of this. Plus the Department for Underwater Archaeology was founded in the 1960s, so I think it still has some “kinks and bumps” to smooth out in order to be more efficient.

However I really like the idea of underwater museums. It would be a great way to experience some of the finds (even if they are replicas). But this may just stem from me always wanting to experience scuba diving.

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