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Prometheus Medical Supports the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP)

The Black Sea MAP is “the biggest maritime expedition ever”. Supported by the Expedition and Education Foundation (EEF) the team, led by the University of Southampton’s Founding Director Professor Jon Adams, initially left to research the change of climate in the Black Sea, also known as the Hostile Sea. As the research progressed, the team were astonished to come across immaculately preserved ship wrecks at the bottom of the Black Sea.

The Black Sea is surrounded by Bulgaria, Georgia, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine. In the past, the Black Sea was used as a trade link for the transport of goods such as grains, oils, cloth, and people.

The research vessels used to help conduct the two trips are named ‘Stril Explorer’ (2016) and the ‘Havila Subsea’ (2017). The vessels have previously been used to help conduct offshore work. High-tech equipment, which leaves the sea-bed untouched, is plunged into the depths of the Black Sea, where the technique of photogrammetry is used to help create 3D digital photos of the shipwrecks discovered.

Over 40 shipwrecks have now been discovered in the Black Sea by the research team, which date back to as far as the 800s – the time of the Byzantine Empire. Most of the shipwrecks that have been discovered are mainly from the 14th – 19th centuries, which cover the Ottoman Empire supremacy. Due to depths lower than 500 feet in the Black Sea being completely null of oxygen, the shipwrecks have been astonishingly preserved. Where, usually, ropes and delicate details on the ships would have been dissolved, due to the organisms and chemicals in any normal circumstance, the Black Sea’s lack of oxygen has enabled these to remain unscathed. 

Prometheus Medical have supported the project with a deployed medic who stayed aboard with the research team to ensure all medical aspects are covered. The use of the Prometheus Reach-back service, available 24/7, was also in place should the deployed medic need urgent consultancy advice from an emergency Doctor. Stuart Plumbley, part of the Prometheus Medical faculty and a HCPC registered Paramedic, has had the pleasure of being part of the project for 2016 and 2017.

Stuart has said: “Wow! what an amazing experience. I knew nothing about marine archaeology; now I am complete fanatic. Listening, watching and learning from Chief Scientist Professor, Jon Adams, and his team who talked with such enthusiasm and knowledge about the expeditions objectives and its successes. Also, witnessing 2000 years’ old amphora, meticulously and skilfully being excavated by the Remote Operating Vehicle (ROV) pilots, placed on the ships deck and experiencing a unique moment in time knowing we are the first people to see this incredible amphora, since it disappeared into the depths of the Black Sea with its ship all those years ago.

It was interesting to learn a bit about Photogrammetry and 3D printing - watching the process of discovering a shipwreck, retrieving thousands of photographs, observing the photogrammetry process and finally seeing the completed 3D model of the wreck.

It was a real pleasure meeting the students, who are the future’s bright stars, knowing future project will be in good hands.

I have been very fortunate to be involved in many exciting experiences throughout my career.  However, this expedition has been uniquely brilliant and I am extremely proud and privileged to have a small involvement as the Paramedic on board ship, looking after an outstanding and extremely talented team of individual.”

For more information on the Black Sea MAP please visit: http://blackseamap.com/