Synthetic 3d recording of a shipwreck embedded in seafloor sediments: Distinguishing internal details

Lars O. Boldreel, Ole Grøn, Deborah Cvikel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


3D recording of shipwrecks completely buried in seafloor sediments has great potential as an important aspect of maritime archaeological surveys and management. Buried shipwrecks have been recorded directly with seismic 3D Chirp sub-bottom profilers on an experimental basis. This method is, however, expensive, time-consuming and complicated. This article outlines the application of a faster, cheaper, and less complicated method of synthetic 3D recording, which is also less sensitive to weather conditions. It involves the acquisition of a larger number of seismic 2D high-resolution sub-bottom profiles in a dense grid that does not need to be regular. The method is based on the results of survey work conducted in the Akko Harbour area, on the Carmel coast of Israel, which shows that the shape of the hull of a shipwreck can be precisely determined, and that the sedimentary units bounding it can be outlined and interpreted. Based on an interpretation of the shape of the hull, the depth of the structure was measured, and a 3D image of the shipwreck was subsequently generated. Samples of the sub-seafloor were obtained across the area, and the sample located within the area of the mapped shipwreck was found to contain wood fragments and a piece of rope. This article demonstrates that 2D surveying is a viable and cost-effective alternative to 3D surveying that is able to produce good results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)541-553
Number of pages13
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: Israel Science Foundation (grant no. 1899/12).

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: 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 had the role of 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. Schlumberger is thanked for the university grant issued to the Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Geology group, University of Copenhagen.

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


  • Akko 4
  • Chirp
  • Detection
  • Mapping
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Shipwreck
  • Sub-bottom seismics
  • Wave compensation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Conservation
  • Materials Science (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'Synthetic 3d recording of a shipwreck embedded in seafloor sediments: Distinguishing internal details'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this