Did you know that the practice of underwater exploration dates all the way back to Aristotle's era? The great philosopher noted that "one can allow divers to breathe by lowering a bronze tank into the water." To learn more about underwater discovery from its earliest history to present-day techniques for excavation, restoration, and conservation, visit this fascinating Web site.
This site provides an accounting of shipwreck databases organized by country and region. If you want to see a list of every shipwreck discovered in the Baltic Sea, for instance, this site can help you find this information and direct you to other sites and databases with more detailed information on the individual wrecks in the region.
FSU has been a leader in underwater archeological fieldwork since the 1950s. Its Web site is an excellent resource for anyone interested in this topic and is full of interesting information about FSU's research expeditions, related seminars and publications, and lists over 100 links to other UW archeology Web sites.
Follow the routes of Zheng He and his fellow Ming explorers with this clickable map of Chinese exploration in the fifth century. This site offers solid information about Chinese wanderlust between the years of 1368 and 1644.
The Ming Dynasty's maritime history is almost as expansive as the oceans. A good place to start your own exploration of this topic is the University of Calgary's Exploration Web site, created in conjunction with Encyclopedia Britannica. The site features explorers from all over the world and throughout history.
BooksChinese Pottery and Porcelain: From Prehistory to the Present. By S.J. Vainker. London: British Museum Press, 1991.
Mainly a history that covers Chinese ceramics from the Bronze Age to the Qing dynasty, this book also includes sections on clays, glazes, and kiln designs.
When China Ruled the Seas: The Treasure Fleet of the Dragon Throne, 1405-1433. By Louise Levathes. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996.
Written by a former staff writer for National Geographic, this popular book examines the maritime explorations of Zheng He (see Ancient Chinese Explorers). Levathes not only covers Zheng He's seven Indian Ocean expeditions in vivid detail but offers insights into daily life in Ming China.
Archeology and the Social History of Ships. By Richard A. Gould. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000
In this book, which we excerpted in Asia's Undersea Archeology, Gould provides an up-to-date look at maritime archeology. Written for the layman, the book is full of interesting case studies and presents a strong argument for preservation of underwater cultural resources.
Archeology Underwater: The NAS Guide to Principles and Practice. Edited by Martin Dean, Ben Ferrari, Ian Oxley, Mark Redknap, and Kit Watson. Portsmouth, U.K.: Nautical Archeology Society, 1995
Profusely illustrated with diagrams and photographs, this primer for enthusiasts of underwater archeology covers the basic principles of the discipline as well as project planning, surveying, excavation and recording techniques, and analysis and publication of fieldwork results.
Pierre Corade, independent animator
Diane Riethof, Gedeon
Hao Sheng, Harvard University
Stephen Sweigart, NOVA