The 2012 Blue Eye Expedition will mark the second year of survey in the famous Albanian spring. Last season, the Center’s team conducted a feasibility survey and determined it is possible to conduct scientific diving in remote high flow underwater caves . The Blue Eye is a major feature in the landscape and oral histories dating back centuries tell stories of ritual sacrifice in the spring. Divers determined that a ledge at twenty meters acts as a catchment area for material deposited from the surface. Artifacts from several periods were found scattered along the ledge, indicating ritual use over several centuries. The upcoming field season will build on last season’s observations with help from the Center’s underwater field school, Titan Dive Gear, and media company Top Channel.
The underwater field school runs for three weeks from July 2-22 and is staffed by international specialists from Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, United States, and Denmark. The course is accredited by the American institution Transylvania University and trains graduate students from the Balkans and international universities in the underwater sciences. Students will take a break from the coastal survey to head inland and visit the Blue Eye, where they will learn about the many site types found in the field of underwater archaeology including submerged caves. The students will help provide surface support and documentation of the culturally rich area. Afterwards, they will have time to relax and enjoy the beautiful environs.
Titan Dive Gear (a leader in closed circuit rebreathers and dive lights) is sponsoring the Center’s research through equipment donation and providing an experienced cave diving videographer to document the research. High definition video will follow the team to the twenty-meter ledge and help document artifacts exposed as part of the non-invasive survey.
The expedition will also be documented by Top Channel, the leading technological media channel in Albania. High definition footage from outside and inside the spring will be broadcast as part of a documentary. The Top Channel documentary, available in Albanian and English, will provide the public with an intimate view of this beautiful and powerful cave as scientists battle the strong flow to bring the secrets of the Blue Eye to light for the first time.
2012 Expedition Partners:
Underwater, marine, maritime, or nautical archaeology is simply archaeology done under the water. Together with cultural and physical anthropology and linguistics, archaeology - both on land and underwater - is a subfield of the science of anthropology, the study of humankind. Basically, the tools, techniques, and products are the same no matter where one works, although different environments may require adaptations to the task at hand. But the goals are the same: understanding our past.