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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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A&M’s Institute of Nautical Archaeology features artifacts from ships, ocean floor

1022_Arch03_Laura.jpg
1022_Arch03_Laura.jpg

Models,  drawings, replicas and information about all things Nautical Archaeology can be found at A&M’s  Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA).
Located in the Anthropology building, the INA is filled with display cases of artifacts professors have discovered from ships at the bottom of various oceans, labs where students print 3D representations of ships to work on ship lines, and the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation (CMAC.)
George F. Bass founded the American Institute of Nautical Archaeology in 1972 in Philadelphia, shortly after the first scientific shipwreck search he conducted in 1960 at Cape Gelidonya in Turkey. In 1976 Texas A&M became the new headquarters for the INA.
“Texas A&M University is the center of the world for Nautical Archaeology,” said Shelley Wachsmann, professor of biblical archaeology. “We are the only institute studying seafaring in both the old and new world.”
Cemal Pulak, a professor of nautical archaeology, conducted the Uluburun Shipwreck, which is the oldest shipwreck ever to be found. It is 3,300 years old, and took 23,000 dives for their team to fully study the site. Pulak also has a degree in engineering, so he said his favorite part of the entire experience was seeing the boat portion preserved, and studying the structure itself.
Kelsey Rooney, a second year graduate student from Rhode Island, said she came to A&M after reading Pulak’s article on his Uluburun Shipwreck.
“Here I have learned to be flexible, because you are always going to find an artifact that makes you question yourself,” Rooney said.
During her time at the INA Rooney has worked with ships used to carry slaves, making sure every part of the boat was drawn to scale of the original.
Students also work to create models of ships that are no longer in existence. These drawings are called ship lines or draft lines. Annaliese Dempsey, a graduate student from Utah, is working with a North Carolina museum to create a reconstruction of one of Blackbeard’s ships, Queen Anne’s Revenge.
“We’re the only place in the world still teaching students how to create this topical graph for boats by hand,” Dempsey said.
Dempsey has spent over 100 hours on this project and is hopeful for the future of this reconstruction. In her free time during excavation season in the summer, she enjoys sailing in the Lady Washington, a boat featured in the first “Pirates of the Caribbean” movie.
The Nautical Archaeology Program offers MA’s, MSC’s, and PhD’s, but it also offers several core classes undergraduate students can take, like Ancient Egypt Archaeology and Introduction to Biblical Archaeology.  Additionally, INA is always accepting volunteers who can help with research, data collecting, building models and going on excursions.

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