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September 14 2012
The pioneering underwater archaeologist ignored academics who said he was wasting his time and professional divers who assumed he would not make it out of the water alive.
Much of human history is hidden beneath the waves: Some 3,000,000 shipwrecks may rest on the world’s seabeds. But archaeologists had to rely on professional divers for scraps of information about these sites until the 1960s, when George Bass began to apply rigorous excavation techniques to underwater wrecks. Over the next half century, Bass led groundbreaking studies of Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 B.C.) shipwrecks off the coast of Turkey, along with sites from many other periods. Along the way, he transformed underwater archaeology from an amateur’s pastime to a modern scientific discipline.
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