Archaeologists preserve underwater heritage

By Christen McCluney - DVIDS

Archaeologists with the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Command are conducting underwater research to study wrecks, recover artifacts and preserve Navy history.

"A large percentage of the Navy's history resides in sunken shipwrecks and aircraft... literally scattered around the globe," Robert Neyland, head of the underwater archaeology branch at the command, explained during a Dec. 16 interview on the Pentagon Channel podcast "Armed with Science: Research and Applications for the Modern Military."

He was joined by Alexis Catsambis and George Schwarz, who also are archaeologists at the branch.

The underwater archaeology branch is responsible for interpreting and applying science and archaeology on the Navy's sunken ship and aircraft wrecks.

The team is responsible for the management and study of more than 3,000 shipwrecks from the Continental Navy period to present time and more than 14,000 lost aircraft from the 1920s to the beginning of the Cold War, Neyland said.

The archaeologists also contribute to the understanding of the Navy's and the nation's underwater cultural heritage.

They travel all over the world to locate, assess and preserve wrecks that are property of the U.S. government, whether in U.S., international or foreign waters.

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