After a test dive yesterday, we have started the archaeological fieldwork on OVM 10 today. The first task for each diver was to orientate on the wrecksite. This is really important in order to be able to execute the next tasks that are essential for the archaeological significance assessment that we want to do.
The site itself is fairly large, with bits and pieces of wreck sticking out of a mound of sediment. Again, like OVM 12, this site was probably hit during sand abstraction for the first extension of the Rotterdam Harbour (Maasvlakte 1) after which the area has been avoided for further abstraction.
As we said yesterday; we are diving with scuba equipment on the OVM10. We are doing this because the site OVM10 lies at about 20 – 25 meters deep, is spread out over a large area, with frames and deck beams surfacing the seabed (sometimes for several meters) and with a visibility of about max 2 meters. Scuba gives you more freedom moving around than surface supply equipment. With the 300 bar Aga sets we have enough air with us. With a nitrox (40%) mix we can stay down at the site for an hour if we don’t go deeper than 23 meters. So we have a lot more dive time than on the OVM12. After two hours surface interval we can go in for another dive.
Each morning we start with a briefing of what we will do that day. Everybody gets his or her assignment and the situation will be discussed with the help of a hi-resolution multibeam sonar image of the site, printed in A0. Striking is the difference between the current situation on the seabed and the multibeam that was made in 2014. Much more of the shipwreck and e.g. ancient rope are visible: clearly some airlifting has been done before we came to the site. A lot of lines, measuring bars and parts of airlifts, all of which we had also found on OVM 12, have been found. Pieces of ancient rope give evidence to the damage this airlifting must have caused on the site. In the long run the wreck parts may be more vulnerable for shipworm attack if the salinity is not decreased or if the site isn’t physically protected.
Unfortunately we do not know what objects have been taken from the site and we probably will never know…
Today we got one extra student, which makes a total of 5:
Morrison van der Linden
My name is Morrison van der Linden and I’m from the Netherlands. I’m currently in my second year of the Maritime Archaeology Program in Esbjerg, Denmark. Like Robert I also studied archaeology at Saxion University in Deventer. I’m interested in almost every aspect of maritime archaeology and hope to gain some more experience during this fieldschool.
Check back tomorrow for more news on the methodology of mapping the site besides the use of photogrammetry.
Robert de Hoop (intern Maritime Programme)