In situ stabilization of underwater archaeological sites

Type of Activity: RTD

Objectives: Sites which are preserved in situ are often threatened by the effects of underwater currents which can cause sediment to be removed from sites, leading to their exposure. Upon exposure sites are susceptible to mechanical abrasion and erosion, which can lead to their total loss. Furthermore, exposed wooden artefacts can, under the right environmental circumstances, be attacked by wood boring organisms such as shipworm.  The activity of wood borers can be prevented by covering the wood with sediment, which creates conditions preventing their survival. In Italian and Greek archaeological sites, wooden artefacts are often located in association with stone / marble objects and structures, which are today submerged, due sea level change or seismic activity. Degradation mechanisms called bioerosion produced by endolithic organisms represents one of the most aggressive and destructive forms of biodeterioration, together with biofouling. Although this type of degradation may not initially seem particularly serious, it is one of the most aggressive phenomena that can lead to the total destruction of the artefact.

The aims of the work package are:  

  • To develop assess and monitor the applicability of artificial seagrass to the in situ protection of          underwater archaeological sites with wooden and stone remains.
  • To evaluate the durability of man made materials used for the protection of underwater archaeological sites


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