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Deepwater Archaeology with Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Technology - 5/7/2007 -

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Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) have had a significant impact on underwater archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico. Increased use of AUV technology for natural resource surveys has increased deepwater shipwreck discoveries. With AUV data, archaeologists can document and interpret deepwater shipwreck sites with a higher degree of detail than possible with deeptow systems. Using examples from the Gulf of Mexico, this paper discusses the use of AUVs for deepwater archaeology, including survey methodologies, and data analysis techniques.

The introduction of commercial AUVs to the Gulf of Mexico began a new era of deepwater natural resources exploration. The use of AUVs also provided archaeologists with a cost- effective tool for documenting deepwater shipwrecks. This paper will show how archaeologists are using AUVs by examining the history of AUVs and archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico, the advantages of AUVs in deepwater archaeology, AUV archaeological survey methods, and site analysis and planning from AUV data.


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