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THE

INA QUARTERLY A PUBLICATION OF THE INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY

FINISTERRE PROJECT

A trove of 16th century Spanish shipwrecks

THE DIVING ARCHAEOLOGIST INA’s contributions to techniques and technology

SHIPWRECK IN

SRI LANKA An Ancient Cargo Ship in the Indian Ocean

WWW.NAUTICALARCH.ORG SPRING 41 2013

VOLUME 40, NO. 1


CONTENTS

AFFILIATED SCHOLARS (CONTINUED) David Stewart, Ph.D. East Carolina University

Peter van Alfen, Ph.D. American Numismatic Society

DEPARTMENTS

Wendy Van Duivenvoorde, Ph.D. Flinders University

4 LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT

Cheryl Ward, Ph.D.

5 NEWS & EVENTS

Coastal Carolina University

30 INA PROFILES

Gordon P. Watts, Jr., Ph.D.

31 BOOKS REVIEWS

Tidewater Atlantic Research

34 RETROSPECTIVE RESEARCH ASSOCIATES John A. Albertson J. Barto Arnold, M.A. Piotr Bojakowski, M.A. Lilia Campana, M.A. Chris Cartellone, M.A.  Alexis Catsambis, Ph.D. José Luis Casabán Katie Custer Bojakowski, Ph.D. Joshua Daniel, M.A. Jeremy Green, M.A.  Matthew Harpster, Ph.D. Heather Hatch, M.A.   Rebecca Ingram, Ph.D. Michael Jones, M.A. Jun Kimura, Ph.D. Justin Leidwanger, Ph.D. Berta Lledó  Colin Martin, Ph.D.  Veronica Morriss, M.A. Robert Neyland, Ph.D. Ralph K. Pedersen, Ph.D.  Robin C. M. Piercy  Juan Pinedo Reyes  John Pollack, M.Sc. Mark Polzer, M.A.  Kelby Rose, M.A. Donald Rosencrantz  Jeff Royal, Ph.D.  Randall Sasaki, M.A.   George Schwarz, Ph.D.

FIELD REPORTS

8

8 INDIAN OCEAN SHIPWRECK A 2,000-year-old shipwreck in Sri Lanka BY DEBORAH CARLSON AND KEN TRETHEWEY

15 THE FINISTERRE PROJECT Sixteenth century Spanish shipwrecks and more BY JOSÉ LUIS CASABÁN, MIGUEL SAN CLAUDIO, FILIPE CASTRO AND RAÚL GONZÁLEZ

ARTICLES 22 THE VIEW FROM BELOW

The art and science of shooting on the seabed

15

BY SUSANNAH H. SNOWDEN

25 RECONSTRUCTING THE IRON ARTIFACTS FROM THE KIZILBURUN COLUMN WRECK Concretions from the Kızılburun Column Wreck yield the shapes of 20 artifacts BY KIMBERLY RASH KENYON

28 THE DIVING ARCHAEOLOGIST

INA’s leadership in dive technology BY LAURA WHITE

22

ON THE COVER: Local archaeologist Amalka Wijesuriya investigates an intact pot from INA's newest ancient shipwreck excavation at Godavaya, Sri Lanka. WWW.NAUTICALARCH.ORG 3


OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

EXPLORING THE OLDEST

SHIPWRECK

IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

Excavating the oldest known shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, which sank some 2,000 years ago, answers questions about the role of Sri Lanka in transferring technology and goods to the Indian Ocean and beyond. BY DEBORAH N. CARLSON AND KEN TRETHEWEY

or almost six weeks from early December 2012 until the middle of January 2013, a multinational team of archaeologists and students from the United States, France, Sri Lanka, and Turkey launched the excavation of what is presently the oldest known shipwreck in the Indian Ocean, at Godavaya, Sri Lanka. The collaborative project is spearheaded by principal investigators Osmund Bopearachchi (CNRS – Paris), Deborah Carlson (INA / Texas A&M University), and Sanjyot Mehendale (University of California at Berkeley) and made possible by funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Our 2012– 2013 team of more than 20 included INA staff from the U.S. and Turkey, graduate students from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, and numerous Sri Lankan archaeologists and interns representing both the Maritime Research Unit of the Department of Archaeology and the Maritime Archaeology Unit of the Central Cultural Fund. The project benefited immensely from the support and assistance of Senarath Disanayake, Director General of the

© 2013 SUSANNAH H. SNOWDEN/OMNIAPHOTO.COM FOR INA

F

Laura White examines a large globular jar from the Godavaya shipwreck.

Department of Archaeology, Palitha Weerasinghe, and Amalka Wijesuriya, our principal local collaborators. The ship was transporting a cargo of raw materials, including what appear to be ingots of iron and others of glass, as well as finished stone querns (hand-operated mills) and ceramic bowls, when it sank some time before the first century A.D. The wreck was discovered in 2003 by local fishermen B.G. Preminda and Sunil Ratnaweerapatabandige at a depth of about 100 feet, and has been explored and mapped by local archaeologists intermittently since 2008. In 2010, Carlson and INA archaeologist Sheila Matthews dived on the site for the first time and collected several wood samples for radiocarbon analysis, which has provided a working date for the wreck in the last two centuries B.C. or the first century A.D. In 2011 Matthews returned to the site with Ken Trethewey, a member of three previous INA shipwreck excavations in Turkey and now an INA Associate Director. In 2012 we launched the first season of full-scale excavation of the Godavaya shipwreck with a team of two dozen enthusiastic volunteers working under the guidance of Matthews and Trethewey as field directors and Laura White as Dive Safety Officer.

We all knew, however, that the logistical challenges were numerous and the time afforded us, limited both by historicallyfavorable sea conditions and by the winter break between university semesters, was short. We also knew that the nearest accessible and operational recompression chamber was in Trincomalee, so we availed ourselves of the generous assistance of Mr. Ariyaseela Wickramanayake (aka Mr. Wicky), who owns the island’s largest marine maintenance and salvage company, called Master Divers. Mr. Wicky agreed to supply us with a barge from which to work, SCUBA cylinders, a compressor and a recompression chamber, all at no cost to the project, in order to help us uncover the history of this exciting wreck. Following the 40-hour trip to Southeast Asia, we spent the first few days purchasing supplies and provisioning our Mumbai

Arabian Sea

INDIA

SRI LANKA Colombo Godavaya

WWW.NAUTICALARCH.ORG 9


lovely five-bedroom rental house outside Ambalantota, just a 10-minute walk from the ancient site of Godavaya, which was excavated by a team from the German Archaeological Institute and the University of Bonn 15 years before. While we awaited the arrival from Colombo of the ship and equipment provided by Mr. Wicky, we set about building an underwater trapeze for decompression and procuring oxygen to breathe while decompressing. The first was fairly simple to accomplish, as we have used similar constructs on INA projects in Turkey; it was merely a matter of purchasing the chain, shackles and piping we would need, sketching out the design, and taking it to a local welding shop. At first, it was a little difficult for some divers new to INA to conceptualize what purpose the trapeze would serve, but later, when it was in the water and the currents were ripping, everyone appreciated having a place to clip off cameras and hang on tight during decompression. For oxygen, we considered two sources: hospitals, where it is used for oxygen therapy, and welding shops, where it is burned as fuel. After exploring both options, it turned out that our neighborhood welder was the most feasible source, as he proved to be many more times during our stay in Ambalantota. With decompression matters in hand, we eagerly awaited the ship, to see firsthand what other projects might be necessitated by its particulars. When it finally arrived on a soggy, gray morning in midDecember, it was immediately apparent that we had plenty more work to do. The ship was a 70-foot tug boat named Puffin XI, with a small foredeck, high off the water, surrounded by a tall rail, and filled with mooring tackle; it would not serve our diving operations. The stern deck was better in every way – wider, flatter, closer Clockwise from top left: Rain in Godavaya; field director Ken Trethewey climbs the dive ladder of Puffin XI toward team member Staci Willis; the team loads supplies onto Puffin XI.

10 INA QUARTERLY 40.1 SPRING 2013

Š 2013 SUSANNAH H. SNOWDEN/OMNIAPHOTO.COM FOR INA

OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN


OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

to the waterline and surrounded by a low rail – but it was almost completely covered by an enormous low pressure compressor, leaving us no place to work. Master Divers had provided the massive compressor in case we wanted to use it for dredging, but it was much too powerful for archaeological work, and there was no way we could accommodate it, and all of us, and Puffin XI’s crew of 10, on board the ship, so it had to come off. Since Ambalantota’s har-

There was no means of getting into and out of the water safely, so we would have to build a dive ladder. Lastly, the diving cylinders provided were standard aluminum 80s, holding 80 cubic feet or 12 liters of air, which is not enough for most divers working at 110 feet to stay for more than 15 minutes with a reasonable margin of safety, so we would need bigger tanks, or a reasonable way to wear two. Finally, it became clear upon inspection that the

Logistical challenges were numerous and the time afforded us, limited by sea conditions and the winter break between semesters, was short. bor has no cranes, we had to wait for Mr. Wicky to send a truck with a boom crane from Colombo to remove the massive machine. Once it was gone, the deck was clear, but searing hot in the tropical sun. A smaller high pressure compressor for filling SCUBA cylinders was also located on Puffin XI, but it required 370 V power, and the ship generated only 220 V, so we had to arrange for a separate source of power, or another way to fill dive tanks.

recompression chamber needed to be replumbed before it could be pressurized for a safety drill. In other words, we had our work cut out for us! In an effort to get the diving under way as soon as possible, we tackled everything at once. INA staff member Orkan Köyağasıoğlu designed the dive ladder, and our local welder brought it to life. After trips to every hardware store in Ambalantota and nearby Hambantota, and then to

AUTHORS

DEBORAH N. CARLSON President, Institute of Nautical Archaeology

KEN TRETHEWEY Associate Director, Institute of Nautical Archaeology

WWW.NAUTICALARCH.ORG 11


a machine shop for a custom part, Orkan and Zafer Gül, Turkish captain of INA’s research vessel Virazon, succeeded in rendering the chamber operational. Ken found a dive shop that would lease 18-liter SCUBA tanks, but when they arrived by truck over night from Colombo, they were also 12-liter tanks, so we sent them back and determined ultimately that there are no larger cylinders on the island. The local welder fabricated supports for an awning to shade the stern of Puffin XI and after much effort, our Sri Lankan partners found a 440 V generator we could lease, so we hired a local boom truck to load it onto the ship in order to fill tanks during the work day. The alternative was to fill tanks at night by means of a small Bauer compressor in a corrugated metal shack used as a perch by several chickens, which would not have been convenient for us or them. With a working chamber, a dive ladder, full SCUBA cylinders, shade and room on the ship’s stern deck, we were at last ready to get in the water, at least for 15 minutes at a time. The next round of challenges,

however, came from the sea. Though sea conditions off Sri Lanka’s southern coast are normally advantageous by late December, we experienced days with strong currents, rough seas, poor visibility, and heavy rains leading on one occasion to a massive flood. Some days were reasonably calm in the morning, then very rough in the afternoon. The current changed direction with the tides, so a mooring that served in the morning might become untenable a few hours later. On some days, after the rains had washed mud into the river and out to sea, one could barely see six inches, meaning divers could not find their work areas, or the ascent line, and opportunities for photogrammetric mapping were few. Rolling seas also made it impossible to secure the SCUBA cylinders on the deck without a rack, so back we went once again to the welding shop. The biggest challenge was mooring. We tried locating suitable rocks on the seabed and wrapping heavy chains around them, then attaching an anchor line, but any tackle left on the surface to facilitate moor-

Our Sri Lankan partners experienced some of the proven methods that INA archaeologists pioneered for safe and productive excavation under water.

ing the next day vanished overnight. In response, we asked our welder in Ambalantota to build barrel buoys out of 55 gallon drums, heavy pipe, and steel cable. These were not stolen overnight, but when Puffin XI tied up to a barrel buoy in a strong current, the barrel was forced under water by the resulting angle of the mooring line, and it imploded, flooded and sank. On one occasion, the currents were so strong that the rocks on the seabed broke, and we drifted away, engines off, dragging our mooring chain, with four divers down. On yet another occasion, the windlass broke and we were unable to raise the anchor. Adding to the complexity of all this was our need to deliver surface supplied oxygen to a stationary decompression stop. Needless to say, our boatmen in the two dinghies were very busy and indispensable to our operations and safety. Despite numerous logistical challenges, which were compounded by the ele-

Top: Cylindrical grinding stone recovered from the Godavaya wreck during the 2012–13 season. Left: INA staff member Orkan Köyağasıoğlu sketches the design of the decompression stop trapeze built in nearby Ambalantota.

12 INA QUARTERLY 40.1 SPRING 2013

© 2013 SUSANNAH H. SNOWDEN/OMNIAPHOTO.COM FOR INA

OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN


OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

ments, our small team made progress. With the decompression stop secured by a barrel buoy at the surface and anchored to some rocks beside the wreck, we were soon able to set up a baseline and grid squares. Datum points were driven in and measured, and artifact provenience was recorded the old-fashioned way, with tape measures. Since time was short, and the currents served to sweep away our silt clouds, we settled for hand-fanning in place of airlifts. We moved significant amounts of sand in limited areas, and uncovered dense fields of artifacts beneath, suggesting that there is much more to this shipwreck than those objects visible on the surface of the seabed. Among the handful of artifacts raised during the brief 2012–2013 campaign were a black glass ingot that parallels green and blue glass ingots recovered from earlier explorations, a globular ceramic pot, another bench-shaped stone quern, and a cylindrical hand-held grinding

stone. There was also a less tangible but significant outcome of this first season at Godavaya. Our new Sri Lankan partners experienced for the first time some of the proven methods that INA archaeologists pioneered for safe and productive excavation under water. In challenging and adverse weather conditions, our efforts to set up an infrastructure that seemed to compound the complexity of our task were no doubt mystifying to our colleagues. But as problems were resolved and they could see how all the pieces fit together to permit two reasonably long and very safe dives per day into deep water by a sizable group of archaeologists, they eagerly joined in the tasks of time keeping, barge chiefing, chamber drills, and all the rest. It was interesting to observe the gradual, and then sudden and quite complete acceptance of our alien ways. How many times did we collectively reflect on the fact that many of the same frustrations, setbacks, and miscommu-

nications that we experienced launching an INA fieldwork project in Southeast Asia were encountered five decades earlier by a small, brave group of pioneers in Turkey launching a discipline, and in due course, INA? Of course the delays of this first short season in Sri Lanka were disappointing but time was rarely wasted; when horrendous visibility made diving impossible on Christmas Day, the team visited the Udawalawe elephant orphan-

The 2012–13 Godavaya excavation team. Front row, left to right: Arianna Dimucci, Ariane de Saxcé, Kalpa Asanga, R.P. Sunil, Laura White, Staci Willis, I.P.S. Nishantha, Sanjyot Mehendale. Back row, left to right: Zafer Gül, Ken Trethewey, Orkan Kӧyağasıoğlu, Ajith Athukorala, Kevin Melia-Teevan, Deborah Carlson, R.P. Sunil, Karunajeewa Dangamuwage, L.D. Sunil Jayaratne, A.M.A. Dayananda, Deepthi Suranga, S.M. Nandadasa, Anuruddha Wanninayaka, Sheila Matthews, Palitha Weerasinghe, Susannah Snowden, Sanath Karunaratna, Peminda Kumara.

WWW.NAUTICALARCH.ORG 13


OLDEST SHIPWRECK IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

age and enjoyed refreshments overlooking the manmade lake that served the ancient capital city of Tissamaharama. On another occasion we took a fabulous evening boat trip up the Walawe River where we saw peacocks, eagles, monkeys, water buffalo, owls, and giant bats. The possibility Osmund Bopearachchi inspects a stone quern raised from the Godavaya wreck.

that the very ship we were excavating had once sailed the Walawe River is suggested by the presence of iron-smelting furnaces farther upriver at Samanalawewa, where British archaeo-metallurgist Gillian Juleff posits that locals were harnessing the power of the monsoon winds to stoke furnaces like these as early as the fourth century B.C. This means that the Godavaya shipwreck is poised to answer major,

meaningful questions about the role that Sri Lanka played in the transfer of both commodities and technology within the Indian Ocean and beyond. At present, our indefatigable team plans to spend the entire spring semester 2014 at Godavaya, with the hopes that the island of Sarandib (the Persian word for Sri Lanka and the etymological source of serendipity) will live up to its name!

SUGGESTED READING Bopearachchi, O. 2002. “Archaeological Evidence on Shipping Communities of Sri Lanka,” in Ships and the Development of Maritime Technology in the Indian Ocean, edited by D. Parkin and R. Barnes, 92-127. Carlson, D. N. 2011. “INA in Sri Lanka: Pearl of the Indian Ocean,” INA Annual 2010: 89-95. Juleff, G. 1998. Early Iron and Steel in Sri Lanka: A Study of the Samanalawewa Area. Mainz. _____. 1996. “An ancient wind-powered iron smelting technology in Sri Lanka,” Nature 379.6560: 60-63.

Ray, H. P. 2003. The Archaeology of Seafaring in Ancient South Asia. Cambridge. Reade, J. ed. 1996. The Indian Ocean in Antiquity. London. Seland, E. H. 2010. Ports and Political Power in the Periplus: Complex Societies and Maritime Trade on the Indian Ocean in the First Century A.D. Oxford. Tomber, R. 2008. Indo-Roman Trade: From Pots to Pepper. London. Trethewey, K. 2012. “The Oldest Known Ship in the Indian Ocean,” INA Quarterly 39.1-2: 28-29. Tripati, S. 2011. “Ancient Maritime Trade of the Eastern Indian Littoral,” Current Science 100.7: 1076-1086.

14 INA QUARTERLY 40.1 SPRING 2013

© 2013 SUSANNAH H. SNOWDEN/OMNIAPHOTO.COM FOR INA

Kessler, O., H. Roth, U. Recker, and W. Wijeypala. 2001. “The Godavaya Harbour Site. Report on the Excavations 1994–1997.” In Ancient Ruhuna: Sri Lankan-German Archaeological Project in the Southern Province, Vol. 1, edited by H.-J. Weisshaar, H. Roth, and W. Wijeypala, 291-326.


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INA Quarterly - Godavaya - Volume 40 - No. 1, Spring 2013  

The INA Quarterly is published by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology four times a year. Funded in part by a grant from the Ed Rachal Fou...

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