GUE Project: Pantelleria 2005

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GUE divers assembled in Pantelleria, Italy in May 2005 for an archaeological survey of ancient amphorae. The recovered amphorae, from depths in excess of 80 meters, are thought to be roughly 2,500 years old. Witness the GUE exploration efforts through the documentation of this historic dive site, produced by GUE. English & Italian languages support this beautifully directed film with 15 minutes of dive footage, including bonus materials and a supplemental photo gallery.

Rising abruptly from the ocean floor, Pantelleria is a volcanic island sitting roughly between Sicily and Tunisia (approximately 42 miles from Tunisia). Appearing majestically from the ocean this roughly carved mass of volcanic rock offers little shelter from rapidly changing weather patterns. In fact, the island can easily become unreachable by plane or boat; this sometimes occurs for days on end. Of course the diving conditions may also change abruptly, causing one to plan carefully; this is particularly true as the dives become more aggressive.

A long time interest in this island and her diving encouraged GUE Training Counsel Director Mario Arena to bring a team of GUE divers to this remote location; the group was working to conduct a careful survey of ancient Amphora that liter the ocean bottom. Sitting in approximately 250’ of water these artifacts were to be located tagged and filmed; a thorough survey done of their location and orientation would also allow a more detailed study by local archaeologists. Given that few archaeologists are avid divers and fewer still are comfortable working in deep water this was an ideal chance for GUE to wed their diving experience with local cultural interests.

During the project local divers Mario Arena and Bruno Borelli would use their Halcyon rebreather to provide for additional convenience during the survey; logistics made it difficult to allow rebreathers to be used by the entire team. Amphora were documented with a three dimensional map constructed to represent position and orientation for later analysis. All diving was done under the supervision of the ministry of culture. This ministry also requested that GUE recover an Amphora in good condition for the purposes of study and public display.