are time capsules," says Ballard. "I think there's more
history in the deep sea than all the museums in the world
across the bottom of the world's oceans are remnants of ancient
seafaring cultures. Until recently, many of these shipwrecks
and artifacts were inaccessible to scientists. But by using
high-tech remotely-operated vehicles, or ROVs, Bob
Ballard is finding more and more sites, and opening up
a new field of deep-ocean archeology. The
immensity of the ocean makes searching for such artifacts
a time-consuming and costly business. But as Ballard tells
Alan, he has techniques for ferreting out these deep-sea treasures,
and his intuitions have paid off. For example, following possible
Mediterranean sailing routes between ancient cities like Carthage
and Rome, Ballard was able to find jugs used to haul wine.
The ships' crews, he speculates, decided to drink the wine
for themselves, and tossed the empties overboard. Shipwrecks
also found along these trade routes have forced historians
to rethink the practices of these cultures, once thought to
hug the coastline rather than cross the open seas.
chandelier from the Titanic ballroom, as captured
by the ROV Jason Junior.
most celebrated archeological find is the shipwreck Titanic,
sought in vain by so many before him. Knowing that the currents
in the region ran north-south, Ballard chose to criss-cross
east-west in the hopes of picking up the debris trail from
the sinking ship. With just two days of search time remaining,
his ROV Argos found the wreck. Again, Ballard's intuition
and imagination had scored the jackpot.
the Deep: Part Four - A Scientific Revolution
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for Noah's House