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Purpose-built robotic tools and methods for deep-sea archaeology

Michel L'Hour 1 Vincent Creuze 2 Denis Dégez 1 
2 ICAR - Image & Interaction
LIRMM - Laboratoire d'Informatique de Robotique et de Microélectronique de Montpellier
Abstract : France’s maritime territory, the second largest in the world, covers 11 million km². Without doubt this vast area is one of the most important repositories of underwater cultural heritage to be found on our planet, containing more than 200,000 wrecks… It is for this reason that France set up DRASSM, an official research department devoted to underwater archaeology, in 1966. It is also for this reason that French archaeologists have endeavoured since the early 1980s to develop techniques for the study of wrecks lying at great depths. In 2006 DRASSM decided to refocus its strategy concerning deep-water wrecks by developing its very own underwater robots and methods. Since 2012, DRASSM has been moving steadily towards its goal, developing new robotic strategies to survey and excavate deep archaeological sites in association with various robotics laboratories (LIRMM, Stanford Robotics, Institut Pprime, Onera, ENSTA Bretagne…). As a result, more than fifty wrecks have been studied at depths of between 90 and 1,025 metres. This paper aims to present some of the methods and technology that have been implemented to further the study of deep-water archaeology, as well as some of the field results obtained during recent campaigns.
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Submitted on : Saturday, November 30, 2019 - 9:16:10 PM
Last modification on : Friday, August 5, 2022 - 3:02:19 PM


  • HAL Id : lirmm-02388047, version 1


Michel L'Hour, Vincent Creuze, Denis Dégez. Purpose-built robotic tools and methods for deep-sea archaeology. IKUWA7 2020 - 7th International Congress on Underwater Archaeology, Jun 2020, Helsinki, Finland. ⟨lirmm-02388047⟩



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