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With the advent of new digital site recording technologies, archaeologists must manage spatial and visual datasets that have grown far beyond the capacity of last century’s paper notebooks. Turning to purely digital recording systems (“going paperless”) in underwater archaeology presents a different set of challenges from terrestrial archaeology and requires a specialized toolkit. The Pladypos prototype, an autonomous surface vehicle, responds to the need for underwater archaeological site mapping tools to be simple, robust, highly portable, and—where appropriate—to coordinate its operations effectively with human divers and tablet-based digital recording systems. Over several days in 2014, the Pladypos was deployed to map the Herodian port structures at Caesarea Maritima, Israel, one of the Mediterranean’s most important submerged coastal sites. In 2015, this mission was expanded to support the excavation of the site of a possible 11th-century a.d. Fatimid shipwreck found near the southern breakwater of Caesarea’s outer harbor.
The Digital Press @ University of North Dakota
Grand Forks, North Dakota
autonomous surface vehicle, Caesarea Maritima, cognitive robots, Israel, marine robotics, shipwreck, site recording, underwater archaeology
Classical Archaeology and Art History
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Buxton, Bridget, Jacob Sharvit, Dror Planer, Nikola Mišković, and John Hale. “An ASV (Autonomous Surface Vehicle) for Archaeology: The Pladypos at Caesarea Maritima, Israel.” In Mobilizing the Past for a Digital Future: The Potential of Digital Archaeology, edited by Erin Walcek Averett, Jody Michael Gordon, and Derek B. Counts, 279-315. Grand Forks, ND: The Digital Press at the University of North Dakota, 2016.