Marine burglar alarm squawks at the sound of bubbles


By Colin Barras

An estimated 1 million ancient shipwrecks litter the seafloor around the globe, proving a tempting target for looters and a nightmare for archaeologists and governments to protect.

But that could be set to change with the advent of a submarine alarm that can identify the telltale sounds of approaching treasure hunters in the hubbub of the oceans.

Recent technological advances have been a boon for underwater research – improvements in GPS navigation, sonar and diving gear mean ancient shipwrecks are more accessible than ever.

But archaeologists worry that the same advances will also benefit looters seeking to make a quick profit.

Tuncay Akal of the TÜBİTAK - Marmara Research Center in Kocaeli, Turkey, is a member of an international research team designing an early warning system that can identify plunderers by their acoustic signature and alert officials of their presence.


Marmara Research Center Kocaeli Turkey TÜBİTAK Ancient civilisation