Sunday, March 24, 2013

Alexis Catsambis on “Where Cutting Edge Meets Cultural Heritage: Investigating Deeply Submerged Archaeological Sites”

Saturday, April 20, 2013 at 11am in the Pillsbury Auditorium at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts

In 1872, Sir Charles Lyell noted that it was “probable that a greater number of monuments of the skill and industry of man will, in the course of the ages, be collected together in the bed of the ocean than will exist at any other time on the surface of the continents.” In the early twentieth century a number of astonishing underwater discoveries at Antikythera, Mahdia, Marathon, and Artemision came to illustrate this insightful statement. The field of maritime archaeology, however, only truly developed as a consequence of advances in marine technology during the middle of the last century which allowed archaeologists to bring the profession’s scientific standards to the underwater environment. Now a mature, dynamic discipline, this area of study has maintained its strong association with cutting-edge advances in science and technology. Nowhere is this more visible than in one of the field’s most exciting frontiers – deep-submergence archaeology. 
This lecture will trace the evolution of methodologies first utilized by the pioneer of underwater archaeology, Dr. George Bass, as they are applied today in some of the most challenging environments in the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and elsewhere. It will concentrate on case studies tied directly to the lecturer’s research, illustrating both recent discoveries, as well as the unique parameters that apply to deep-water sites. As will be demonstrated, with our ever-increasing abilities to locate and study the monuments of the skill and industry of humankind located on the ocean floor, Charles Lyell’s words echo all the more true today. 

About the Speaker:   Alexis Catsambis is a maritime archaeologist who holds his degrees from the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University (Ph.D., M.A.) and the Institute of Archaeology and Antiquity of the University of Birmingham, U.K. In his professional capacity, Dr. Catsambis serves the Naval History & Heritage Command as an archaeologist and cultural resource manager, providing for the stewardship, research conservation, and curation of the U.S. Navy’s sunken craft and associated artifacts. Through his academic research, Dr. Catsambis has directed and participated in a breadth of archaeological investigations. While focusing on the Mediterranean and Black Seas in antiquity, his practical experience spans to the North American continent and includes underwater visual surveys and site assessments, remote-sensing surveys, terrestrial excavations, as well as shallow- and deep-water excavations. He has also been involved with the conservation and digital reconstruction of sites and artifacts, having spent time at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center of Clemson University and the NATO Undersea Research Centre in La Spezia, Italy. His recent publications include the Oxford Handbook of Maritime Archaeology, which he co-edited with Dr. Donny Hamilton and Dr. Ben Ford.  He is the AIA’s Bass Lecturer for 2012/2013. 

A no-host lunch open to AIA members with the speaker will follow the lecture at Christos Greek Restaurant, 2632 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis.

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