Detection and mapping of shipwrecks embedded in sea-floor sediments

O. Grøn, L. O. Boldreel, D. Cvikel, Y. Kahanov, E. Galili, J. P. Hermand, D. Nævestad, M. Reitan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The paper discusses the detection of shipwrecks embedded in sea-floor sediments using a Chirp sub-bottom profiler. From a methodological-historical perspective it presents four examples of recent chirp recordings of verified shipwrecks embedded in different types of sediment environments, from different geographical and geological areas and from different periods. The effects of shallow water depths, different sediment types, recording speed and different (2D and 3D) sub-bottom profiler systems are briefly discussed. It is concluded that Chirps are well suited for survey purposes, producing high quality 2D profiles of good resolution and satisfactory penetration depth. Furthermore, the equipment is easy to handle from a small boat and allows flexible sailing. This type of 2D data is cheaper and faster to acquire and is easier to interpret and apparently also provides better resolution and detail than present 3D systems. Chirp data are therefore of great value in identifying and outlining shipwrecks hidden in the sea floor in survey situations where larger areas must be covered. The overall conclusion is that there are grounds for optimism with regard to this method of detection of maritime archaeological targets.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)242-251
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science: Reports
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Akko 4 project was supported by the Israel Science Foundation ( grant no. 1899/12 ) and conducted with the aid of Amir Yurman and Moshe Bachar from the maritime workshop of the Leon Recanati Institute for Maritime Studies, Haifa, and Peer T. Jørgensen, Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Copenhagen, who served as a technician. We thank the Israel Antiquities Authority for access to the data from the 1990 survey of Akko Marina. The remote sensing survey in Akko was carried out in 1990 by the Israel Department of Antiquities and Mr. Gideon Amit from the Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research Institute.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Published by Elsevier Ltd.


  • Akko
  • Detection
  • Hard sediments
  • Mapping
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Shallow water
  • Shipwreck
  • Subbottom seismics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology


Dive into the research topics of 'Detection and mapping of shipwrecks embedded in sea-floor sediments'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this