Rodrigo Ortiz-Vazquez (#FL Shipwrecks Mentor)

Rodrigo Ortiz-Vazquez (#FL Shipwrecks Mentor)

My particular interest in Maritime Archaeology has been constant ever since 2006 when I started a degree in Archaeology and my diving career in Mexico City.



  • Hi Joe,

    I agree maybe in future years to come!
    Hopefully not far away

  • Thanks too all the participants, for all your comments and enthusiasm!
    I'm glad that almost everybody had a great experience.
    Hope you keep a lot of what was shown here throughout the course.

  • Hi Joe,

    In the UK archaeology, specifically maritime archaeology is financed by State organisations like Historic England or the the Historic Lottery fund, or Trust's (MAT, NAS, etc) or Universities such as Southampton. Fortunately, none of these instructions have the need to finance their research by selling artefacts nor do they do it for personal...

  • Hi Helen,

    Certainly carrying out an extensive excavation underwater as ways presents different challenges, that you would not have to face on land.

    Have a look on what has been done at Boulder Cliff, in the west Solent:

    Also, Dr Rachel Bynoe is working in the NorthSea near Happisbrough, where the...

  • Hi Rikka.
    Very inserting what you are doing in Finland.
    Is there a online link to this digital archive?

  • Hi Norma and Dani,
    The Mercedes is being currently investigated by the Spanish government and the ARQUA (National Underwater Museum).
    A recent publication of the ROV survey report was published not long...

  • Hi Joe,
    It has been put in practice in some places like Cesarea Maritime in Israel.
    However, sometime and most times wrecks are in places which access is complicated or hazardous.
    The future will be in 3d modelling and virtual access to the sites.

  • Hi Harry,

    We do engage in wreck diving techniques similar to cave diving.
    Not everyone does, but I find it fascinating.
    As you probably know most old wooden ships don't have much of the structure still standing. With some exceptions, particularly in the Baltic or the Balck sea.
    But for modern wrecks you certainly need these skills because it is very...

  • Hi Allanah,

    I'm not ware of the full reason for Canada not to sign the UNESCO convention.
    Maybe Dani Newman-Mentor has a better answer.

  • Hi Stephen,

    It's good that you point that out.
    I think that with the intention of being as universal and compatible as possible with the legal framework of different countries it did not specify that topic in particular.

    As you probably are aware in the UK we have the Protection of Military Remains Act...

  • Hi Len,
    That is an interesting illustration.
    Do you know where the original is found?
    Fires would be usually put in a furnace or a pot, to contain the fire or the burning coals. Avoiding to cause any damage to the ship and probably cause a bigger fire.
    It was common practice on long voyages as it is the only way of cooking or having warm food.

  • Hi Christine,
    That is a tricky question to answer.

    Associating a gender to a specific skill in archaeology can be sometimes confusing.

    However it is well know that Viking women where sailors.

    Rope making, and sail making where very important trades in which women and men where...

  • Hi Harry,

    I have to agree that orientation underwater is a very important skill. I took my diving courses in CMAS and later on SDI/TDI. I'm sure they're very similar to the PADI or MAUI ones.

    Orientating your self around a site by understanding the structure of a ship takes much longer, specially if its a wooden wreck. You'll be surprised how much you...

  • Hi Thomas,
    I wasn't aware of your organisation.
    Thanks for sharing the information and the link.
    Are you involved in any way with the University of Florida?

  • Hi Elizabeth,
    I agree with you, it does tie in very well with some topics that where touched during this course!

  • We all think so too

  • Hi Bas,

    That is a very tricky question to answer.

    I haven't personally gone diving in a place and seen this phenomenon in western Europe.

    I imaging that it would happen in submerges caves systems found in Spain, Gibraltar, and specifically Majorca

    Where it is very evident is...

  • Hi Johannes,

    there is a little more on week 4 that goes into that.

    Unfortunately, that is a very hands on topic to fully understand with complicates things to show purely on line.

    Hope you keep enjoying the course

  • Hi Nigel,

    I'm glad you enjoyed it that much.

    You can do a Master course her at the university os Southampton in Part Time, that means a two year course.

    I'll leave you the link here if you want to have a look at it:

  • I'm sure you will enjoy it!

  • Hi Bob,

    You have touched a very inserting point.

    I mentioned before that archaeology started yesterday. But you are right to point out that there are moral and legal issues that you can not and should not overlook.

    In the specific case of wrecks that belong to the Royal Navy, there is a
    Protection of Military Remains Act...

  • Hi John,

    That is a complicated story. in the case of wrecks you can report them here:

    Precisely to avoid this type of problems.

    Most of the wrecks are not found by profesional archaeologist. Mostly fisherman, amateur divers, and people go to sea daily are the ones to find it. So it is very...

  • Hi Robert,

    It's a complicated combination of politics and interests I might happen in the near future. Fortunately, there is a solid legal framework to protect shipwrecks in UK territorial waters.

  • Hi Andrew,
    Neither has the UK or the US But more and more countries are signing it and ratifying the convention.

  • Hi Thomas and Marina,

    Site formation processes are composed by three main factors.
    Chemical, physical and biological.
    This mean that the combination of the three will determine the better or worst conservation of a wreck or a submerged site or objet.

    As Marina mentioned, the Baltic's brackish water help conservation. The water temperature is...

  • Hi Linda,

    Not only waterproof.
    It probably protected the paddles and made them last more.

  • Hi Peter,
    Thanks for your comment.
    I really do recomen you to look into McGrail.
    There are some other examples around the world of boat ethnography applied to understand the archaeological record.

    It is really important for an archaeologist to understand living traditions of boat building. As...

  • Greatt link Hugh,

    Very impressive the size of those boats

  • Hi Damien,
    That's a very interesting link! thank a lot!
    Great way to spend a retirement by the way :)

  • Hi Veronica,
    I have to agree with you.
    Excavating is always destroying in a way. But sometime it is the only way of really understanding a site. That is why conservation is so important for archaeologist and is or should be contemplated before, during and after any excavation.
    I would like to add something, if you can't guarantee the preservation of an...

  • Hi Peter,

    It's a branch of Palaeontology that studies the burials of plants and animals, underlining the their decay and preservation processes to becoming fossilised.

  • Hi Riikka,

    Very interesting to know a little bit more about archaeology in Finland.

  • Hi Harry,

    In terms of practice it is easier to move around when you have a fixed grid to recored the structure of a ship, or objets. By using the same grid system grasping with your feet.
    Otherwise it's not standard practise to visit a site with out fins. It really depends on site conditions.

    If your'e going inside a wreck with standing structure,...

  • Hi Saman,
    I'm sure you will learn a lot during the course.
    Hope you enjoy it

  • Hi Nicky,
    It depends on the project objectives.

    Here's a geotechnical report done by Thomas Dhoop a fellow researcher and the University of Southampton. It's a good example of how to do maritime archaeology on land, investigating the medieval town of Winchelsea. There is a section that goes it the core analysis....

  • Hi all,

    Very interesting comments.

    I have to agree with you that geophysical survey are expensive.
    I'll leave here a link to a great case study example of using a sub-bottom profiler for archaeology, on a shipwreck called the Grace Dieu.

    You will see the full potential a doing...

  • Nice link!

  • Hi Andrew,
    Good Link simple and straightforward!

  • Hi Augusto,

    Very interesting link!
    Thanks for that

  • Hi John,

    Have a look at this link i'm sure you will find it of some interest:

  • Hi Jeff,

    I'm really glad you have enjoyed it so far.

  • I apologise for that.
    Try it from a desktop/laptop.
    I think we haven't had any issues on other platforms.

  • Hi Maria,

    It's great to here you are enjoying it!

  • Hi Richard,

    The depth limit depends on the equipment you are using.
    If you see the image with the ¨fish¨ (sonar attached at the end), if you have enough cable length on the winch you can scan very deep.
    It´s called a deep tow. But if the kit is mounted to the hull of the ship, then you have other limitations to depth.
    In theory you can survey at any...

  • Hi Brendan,
    I agree with you.
    Have a look at the king ship reconstructions in Denmark at the Roskilde Museum:

  • Hi Jimmy,

    That is a very interesting observation!

    Actually, the use of iron knees is a French innovation, that was later acquired by the British Navy.

    We have a great example in the West Solent.

    The HMS Invincible, is a 74-gun man of war, built in Rochefort in 1744 and later captured by the the British.

    This is one of the first...

  • I think the Portus MOOC and this one complement each other. However this course aims to give you a wider spectrum of maritime archaeology and not only focused on the Roman Period.

  • Hi Henrike,

    You are right "elite exchange" is referred to people with the economic capacity of acquiring these artefacts, as they where expensive to obtain and to transport.

  • Hi Harry,

    I Have not done it. But I know the people who run it, and they are good archaeologists with a lot of practical experience.

    This might give you a hint of where to start in Canada.

  • Hi Jimmy,

    Archaeology started yesterday if a place or an object was abandoned and/or lost or out of use, it becomes an archaeological context.

    However in legal terms as the UNESCO has proposed it that it should become archaeological relevant until it's 100 years old:

    Considering that 100 year...

  • Hi Laura,

    Absolutely agree with you! We spend most of our time on land doing research.
    It's not all about diving.

  • Hi Karsten,

    Thanks for your comments!

    Boulder Cliff has become a a Mesolithic site of great importance.

    Not only have they found good stratigraphy, but the earliest evidence of wheat in Britain!

    If you want more information have a look at the following...

  • Hi Karsten,

    I am not aware of any iconography or written sources that mention any greek small fishing (caique) or as you called them cup-boats.
    Let us know if you find some!

    Have a look at this reading list:

  • HI Alba,

    I've been lucky enough to be involved with people from the Universitat de Barcelona and the Centre for Underwater Archaeology of Catalunya (CASC).

    Have a look at Universidad de Cadiz (UCA), as they have the only running Master and PhD in maritime archaeology in Spain.

    You have other options such as...

  • Hi David,

    Thanks for your comment on the timeline.
    I have to say that I agree with you with your last statement:

    "There can't be a better combination than a diver/Archeologist, but there are times when the site situation is difficult and a robot could be more appropriate".

    Safety and time limitations for divers are other very good reason use an...

  • Hi Mary,
    There is a great expo on the Titanic held at the Sea City Museum in Southampton.

    You would be surprised on the quality of the expo that is purely based on information without a single object of the wreck.

    As far as it come to financing the recovery of artifacts by selling them is tricky however been proven so many...

  • Hi Isabel,

    Welcome to the course. There is some very interesting research carried out in Colombia at the moment. Dr Clara Fuquen did her PhD here at the University of Southampton you might have more thing in common to talk about.

  • Hi Magdalena,

    Technology has improved a lot in the past 20 years of ROV's and Automatic Unmanned Vehicles (AUV's), from recording to excavating, and carefully extracting objet.

    They become specially useful when a site or a wreck is found in very deep water as it was done on Titanic, or other places in the Black Sea.

    Have a look at this video its very...

  • Hi Marcelo,

    The HMS Swift is a perfect example to kick start your interest in maritime archaeology in Argentina.

    Dra. Dolores Elkin has carried out interesting work on this vessel.

  • Hi Juan Carlos,

    It's great to here that your getting involved with the MOOC.

    I'm sure you will enjoy it.

    Peru has great potential for research in maritime archaeology.

    Have a look at this blog.

    Carlos Ausejo does interesting...

  • Don't worry there are many way you can get involved doing maritime archaeology with out getting wet!

    Have a look at the NAS website something else might interest you.

    or CITIZAN

  • Hi Zip,

    You are right, the MAST has a good programme.

    Sorry I did not mention it before.

    If you decided to join I hope you enjoy it as well as the rest of this course

  • Hi Pornnatcha,

    In submerged cave systems such as the outstanding cenotes in the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, this is a common phenomenon.

    In some these caves there are remains of the earliest settlers in America, megafauna and even Mayan offerings.

    The caves are flooded by fresh water and once they get closer to the sea, a halocline is produced, and...

  • Hi Harry,

    I totally agree that in takes even years to become a good diver.

    I have the pleasure of working with divers from many other professions and it is a a great asset having this diversity.

    There are many ways of getting involved. For example: the Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) is very keen on getting people involved into maritime...

  • Hi Harry and Zip,

    As Prof. Jon Adams mentions, it certainly does take less time to become a diver than a archaeologist. You can become a diver at any recreational diving centre in a weekend.

    Although I agree that good divers are non always easy to find. Ever more scarce is the combination of both.

    However, there is a 'middle ground', when it comes...

  • Hi Kevin,

    There are several pros and cons of both techniques.

    For example there is a physical limit on the size of a shell based boat, that on a frame first could be build larger as they are more robust and less flexible.

    However a strong component to boat building around the world comes down to tradition. If you are used to build a boat and it...

  • Hi Selma,

    I consulted a couple of naval dictionaries and yes it can be a brail ring, however it can also be a cargo ring, so you would have to put it into context.

    If you are talking about rigging then there is no doubt.

    Have a look at this short blog post written by Dr. Julian Whitewright on Roman ships....

  • Hi Riikka,

    Certainly, the Baltic Sea is a unique place that combines several factors for ship conservation.

    I think you might find what Prof. Johan Rönnby and others carry out in Sweden.!/p3/ext/content.nsf/aget?openagent&key=sh_publikationer_inst_en_100103

    Also, have a...