Over the past two summers, AURORA has spent over 2 months searching for archaeological remains that can be linked to the siege of Syracuse (by Athens) of 413BC. We surveyed over two square kilometers with a sub bottom profiler running over 220 survey lines. Last winter, sub-bottom data specialist Rick Horgan selected a number of high priority targets located within the sediment.
For the 2009 Syracuse campaign a group of divers from a host of institutions, including the Superintendence of the Sea, Gruppo Trireme, Lega Navale, Carabinieri (Messina) and of course AURORA will be investigating these targets. To achieve this we will lay baselines across the area highlighted for study and then we will proceed to excavate a series of test trenches across the baseline. The targets lay well below the seabed with burial depths that vary from 70cm to 250cm.
So far we have completed two days of offshore operations. We have mainly focused on setting up the support vessel (Tuono) on a three point mooring and getting two targets ready for investigation.
Working on the seafloor inside harbours is always challenging and Syracuse is not proving any different. Once divers start work and the mud gets disturbed by the water jet and dredge one cannot see further than one’s nose. We are working in approximately 22 meters of water and are spending no more than 40 minutes in the water – including a safety stop.
Despite these conditions we have been making steady progress and look forward to some positive results.