August, 2009

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BACK IN MALTA

Friday, August 14th, 2009

Yes, it has been several days since our last update, but we’ve been busy.
FORTALEZA AND ISIS -MANOEL ISLAND, MALTA

We concluded this season’s efforts in Syracuse and transited the 90-odd miles south to Malta where we are once again at our operating base on Manoel Island across from the great fortified city of Valletta.

ISIS UNDER TOW SYRACUSE TO MANOEL ISLAND, MALTA

The ISIS and FORTALEZA are now side-by-side as we get ready for the next phase of our 2009 season of exploration. The next project is a detailed ROV survey of an area we previously worked at off the Island of Gozo. Additionally, at the end of our 2008 season we confirmed the existence of an ancient shipwreck at the base of a cliff nearby to the Gozo site and we plan to return to further document what appears to be a 5th century BC shipwreck; possibly the oldest discovered in the Maltese Islands.

Additionally, we have added to our capabilities when the project secured access to a Geometrics Magnetometer. This will help distinguish the ancient non-ferrous material from the more modern artifacts. We plan to put this new tool to use off Malta in late August.

Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
AURORA's Founders Craig Mullen & Ian Koblick - A couple Ancient Mariners Looking for Ancient Greek Marimers

AURORA's Founders Craig Mullen & Ian Koblick - A couple Ancient Mariners Looking for Ancient Greek Marimers

Searching in the harbor floor in Syracuse continued through the week without let-up, but also without any breakthroughs. In total, through Wednesday the 29th of July, our team has dove on 20 targets recorded during two years of side scan sonar and sub-bottom profiling in Syracuse Harbor. Between divers probing into and, in some ceases, excavating sizable holes in the thick, sticky mud of the bottom, we have idntified approximately 8 targets as modern artifacts (one was our hoped-for ship hull) and 8 as local geology.

Of the remaining targets 4 were not found at all with several teams of divers probing up to 2 meters into the harbor floor at their recorded positions. Having verified our navigation several times during out time here, we concluded these targets were out of range of our probes.

From our perspective there is a good news – bad news sort of thing in play here. On the positive side, we have confirmed there are targets where our sub-bottom penetrator data predicted. On the negative side, apparently the remains of the several battles fought in the harbor are not represented by large hull sections quickly buried under a couple meters of harbor sediments as speculated, but rather smaller artifacts and possibly buried deeper in the sediments.

We have decided to step back from our field efforts in Syracuse this year and investigate alternative technical approaches for a return in the future. Craig plans to research recent advances in mine hunting technology for new remote sensing options. Our local partners have indicated they will look into obtaining core samples of representative areas of the harbor floor to obtain actual data on local sedimentation.

Lastly, we’re happy to report no Borilla’s were encountered in the murk of the muddy harbor floor. What’s a Borilla you ask?? – Well, it’s a old diver term for something unexpected in the gloom that’s too big for a Bear and too ugly for a Gorilla, but generally flashes by with every potential of returning — hopefully not on your dive!