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Donner à visiter un cuirassé dans les abysses : le « Projet Danton »

Abstract : From 1914 to 1918, military, merchant and fishing fleets played a leading role… but paid a heavy price when submarines took the war beneath the waves. Curiously enough, underwater remains dating from this terrible conflict were for a long time ignored, while the men lost at sea were themselves rarely mentioned. In 2013, French underwater archaeologists, aware of this omission, decided to undertake an ambitious project to raise awareness among the public of this sunken page of our maritime history. And the result was ‘Danton Project’. Torpedoed on 19 March 1917 by the German submarine U-64, the French battleship Danton, built in 1909, sank in less than an hour, taking close to 300 sailors along with her 19,000 tons of steel. Largely forgotten, the Danton was discovered quite by chance in January 2008 when an underwater robot located, at a depth of 1,025 metres off Sardinia, a huge anomaly that subsequent surveys identified as the wreck of the lost battleship. Two surveys were carried out in situ in 2015 and 2016 by France’s Department of Underwater and Underwater Archaeological Research. These operations involved the deployment of a robot fitted with specially designed equipment for filming and photographing at great depths. In less than six days the archaeologists were able to acquire more than 42,000 high-definition photographs and twenty-seven videos of the remains. This work laid the foundation for a 3D computer model of the wreck which will soon be made available to the public so they can visit the Danton as if they were actually diving to the site. The ‘Danton Project’ also led to a particularly innovative technological development which promises to dramatically speed up the 3D mapping of wrecks lying at depths of down to 2,000 metres.
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Michel l'Hour, Daniela Peloso, Franca Cibecchini, Denis Dégez, Vincent Creuze, et al.. Donner à visiter un cuirassé dans les abysses : le « Projet Danton ». In Situ : Revue des patrimoines, Ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Direction de l'architecture et du patrimoine, [Sous-direction des études, de la documentation et de l'Inventaire], 2020, ⟨10.4000/insitu.28211⟩. ⟨lirmm-02870019⟩



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