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Sunken Treasure Hunt

October 3, 2013

Researchers have designed an underwater vehicle to search for shipwrecked vessels filled with treasure off the coast of Florida.



In search of the Queen’s Jewels. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Underwater archaeology ocean crawler before a test run off the coast of Florida. (Stephen Wood)

In 1715, eleven ships from the Spanish fleet went down in a hurricane off the coast of Florida, along with vast amounts of New World treasure. Now, Florida Institute of Technology ocean engineer Stephen Wood and his team are testing an underwater vehicle that could help underwater archaeologists search for the lost artifacts. We caught up with him at the Oceans ’13 conference in San Diego, California.

STEPHEN WOOD (Florida Institute of Technology):

Basically the best analogy of this is to think of an underwater Bobcat. Where we can actually dig, analyze and photograph any type of archaeological underwater artifact. And we also have a complete buoyancy system so we can actually take the crawler from point A to point B.


He says the project teaches his students valuable engineering skills, with the added excitement of searching for sunken treasure. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.

A diver inspects the crawler in action. (Stephen Wood)