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Autonomous Underwater Vehicles: The Latest Tool for Archaeological Investigations

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In 2001, C&C Technologies, Inc. of Lafayette, Louisiana began using the HUGIN 3000 AUV in the Gulf of Mexico for offshore oil and gas surveys. This new survey vehicle is faster, more accurate, and more maneuverable than conventional deep-tow systems and has raised the bar for deepwater geophysical and hydrographic surveys. Although archaeology was not the primary purpose for developing the vehicle, archaeologists are and will continue to benefit from its use. Archaeological investigation with a conventional deep-tow system is seldom conducted during industry surveys because of the cost and time involved in operating such a system. However, during the first year of operation with the HUGIN 3000, four shipwrecks were investigated as a result of the HUGIN's cost effectiveness. The use of the HUGIN 3000 directly led to the discovery of the long sought after German submarine, U-166, which was located near its last victim, the passenger freighter SS Robert E. Lee. This AUV also helped document two additional newly discovered shipwrecks: The cargo freighter SS Alcoa Puritan and a small wooden sailing vessel known as the Mica wreck.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 1, 2002

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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