In early November, Atlantas Marine engineer and ROV pilot Mark Salter travelled to Lago di Viverone, northern Italy to map the site of a Bronze Age settlement with a VideoRay Pro 4 ROV in what was the first underwater excavation of this important UNESCO World Heritage site.
The international team that are excavating the site are funded by the National Geographic Society and Atlantas Marine had been contracted by the University of Bradford to conduct the ROV work, the main objective of which was to map the area and create a detailed plan. Viverone is thought to have been one of the most vibrant trading centres for bronze artefacts in Northern Italy, with similar swords to those of Viverone being found as far afield as Germany, the Netherlands and Britain.
Although Viverone was discovered in the 1970s, the current project is the first time it has been excavated and scientifically analysed in a systematic way. The wooden piles on which the settlement was built around 3500 years ago are still visible beneath the water, showing a group of houses, surrounded by a palisade, with a walkway to the shore. Techniques such as core and soil sampling will be utilised to understand the environment, whilst samples from the piles will be analysed using the tree rings within the wood to show when the village was built and how it developed over time.
The VideoRay Pro 4 ROV was equipped with a GoPro camera for HD video and a Smart Tether for positioning and navigation. The Smart Tether allowed real time location of the ROV in extremely shallow water (one to two meters in depth) Having previously imported an image of Lake Viverone from Google Earth to the VideoRay software, Mark was able to get a birds eye view on the display monitor of the ROV’s position in the lake in real time, which really helped to improve overall situational awareness and map inspected areas.
Professor Menotti from the University of Bradford commented: “Atlantas’ work in Viverone was absolutely brilliant, Mark is a highly skilled ROV pilot. We’re delighted with how everything went, and the Pro 4 managed to capture some excellent videos and photos of the settlement and excavation. I hope to stay in touch, and hopefully we will work on more projects together in the future”
The VideoRay Pro 4 is available for hire or purchase through Atlantas Marine. For more information please contact us on 01935 426 000