Thank you Past Preservers, I was thrilled to recently be featured as your ‘Expert of the Week’! 😊 For those interested or curious, check out my profile on the expert database and get in touch for any archaeological media & documentary projects! http://www.pastpreservers.com/our-experts
Last month I had the great opportunity to present at IKUWA 6 underwater archaeology conference, in association with the University of Southampton, UK (where I was recently awarded my Ph.D). IKUWA 6 is the International Congress of Underwater Archaeology, and one of the largest in the field. This was the first time it was being held outside of Europe, with Australia’s Fremantle (Freo) as the chosen host location for the sixth conference, taking place at the Western Australian Maritime Museum. The conference coincided with the 400th anniversary of the first evidenced European landing in Western Australia undertaken by the Dutch explorer Dirk Hartog.
This being also the first time I landed in Australia, I had a few days beforehand with family in Perth to visit the koalas, kangaroos and wallabies roaming around, and enjoy beautiful sandy beaches with the cooling local afternoon breeze known as the Fremantle Doctor.
As the conference unfolded, interesting discussions sparked at the UNESCO Roundtable talks on the first day, with leading experts discussing issues and potential measures to further advocate for the protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. The next series of days exhibited underwater archaeological discoveries emerged from around the world, exploring a wide range of themes and topics, such as navigation and trade, 3D & GIS technology, and the importance of capacity building. These were presented in the form of both talks and posters, providing different interactive ways of engaging with the research (and its researchers). During the IKUWA 6 conference, I co-presented a poster with Steven Lopez titled ‘Sensory Navigation in the Roman Mediterranean: The Levantine & Ionian Seas’, which explored the use of the senses in Roman navigation, drawing on two case-studies. First, a theoretical approach of the Levantine coastline, followed by the practical sailed journey along the Albanian coastline during our 2016 Albanian Marine Science Expedition. See abstract here. Also at IKUWA6, Dr Lucy Blue (University of Southampton & Honor Frost Froundation) presented a discussion on the underwater archaeological survey we undertook in Oman last year and its role in capacity building in the region.
The conference was filled with so many interesting, influential people and groundbreaking research and discoveries, all gathered in an idyllic maritime setting in beautiful Australia!
Thank you IKUWA6 team for hosting such a great conference!
A place where the mountains kiss the seas. Soaring backdrops contour the distinct steep rocky shores of the Balkans. I have been lucky to explore the coastlines of Croatia, Montenegro, and more recently, their less visited neighbour, Albania. It is still relatively unknown and untouched… a beautiful country, rich in history. I was part of a team of international scientists on the “Albania 2016 Marine Science Expedition”, in search of ancient shipwrecks and artefacts along different sites in Albania, known in ancient times as Epirus.
CORFU STRAIT & ALBANIA
Just as ancient sailors did over 2000 years ago, we embarked on our expedition from the Greek island of Corfu, sailing across to Sarandë, on the Albanian Riviera, then northward through and beyond the Corfu Strait to Vlorë Bay. We sought temporary shelter along the way at Porto Palermo, where the Ali Pasha Castle lies. Before reaching it, we had to watch out for the inconspicuous reef that was hazardous to sailors throughout antiquity, known as the Devil’s Tongue. Below the surface rests the Joni Wreck, a large 4th century AD Roman shipwreck. As we navigated along this mountainous coast, we faced changing winds and choppy waters, so we continually adapted to nature’s whim. Along the largely harbourless Karaburun Peninsula, we caught sight of the distinct limestone-ringed rocky coastline known as the White Roads in antiquity. We anchored en-route, strapped on our dive gear and explored the seabed of Gramma Bay, a small natural haven where Roman forces landed, and Greek and Latin inscriptions of sailors are engraved on the cliff walls of the way, a sort of sailors’ ‘rock diary’.
We then set sail around the tip of the peninsula where it curves into Vlorë Bay, past the natural colour-changing border where the Adriatic and Ionian Seas merge. Along this stretch lies the Cave of the Illyrians, believed to have been a pirate hideout in the past. We explored threatened areas, finding evidence for ancient sea-level change and maritime trade. Our most exciting discoveries were large submerged remains at the fortified Roman port of Triport, proving to be far larger than previously believed, extending an additional 8 acres at least. It offered anchorage for ships on the sea and Narta Lagoon, linking ancient cities via major Roman roads and trade routes. On the return journey, we took the land route instead, driving south along mountainous winding roads through abundant national parks. We reached Lake Butrint, an inland lagoon linked to the Roman fortified colony and port Butrint, a key archaeological UNESCO World Heritage site in southern Albania. We carried out underwater cultural assessments of nearby areas, while enjoying evenings at our remote camp surrounding a fireplace in the company of scorpions and mosquitos, overlooking Corfu under a starry sky to the sound of crashing waves.
[excerpt from my ‘Snippets of a Nomadic Year: From South America to the Balkans‘ article published in F*Shift Magazine‘s Explorer issue, Oct 2016, pp. 40-41]
Project directed by Peter B. Campbell, M.A (University of Southampton), Neritan Ceka (Albanian Institute of Archaeology), and Albanian National Coastal Agency.
“Expedition finds remains of fortified Roman port are much larger than previously thought”. Read more about our recent marine science expedition in Albania, featured on Physics News (Phys.org) and the see following blog post.
Exploring the Karaburun Peninsula. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Porto Palermo. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Albanian mountainous coastline. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Sailing along the Albanian coast. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
The Ionian-Adriatic natural border. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Sailing ancient Epirus. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Cave of the Illyrians – a pirate hideout. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Steven Lopez surveying Vlore Bay. Photography: Niki Karagouni.
Underwater survey of Gramma Bay with Peter Campbell, project director. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Finding new evidence of large submerged port remains of Triport. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128)
Exploring Albania’s maritime heritage. Photography: Steven Lopez (instagram: @eslopez128).