Jeff Emerson '13

My connection to the Classics department began when I took a class on underwater archaeology, taught by Prof. Dan Davis. This led directly to an internship with the Nautilus Exploration Program, during which I worked side-by-side with Dr. Davis and an interdisciplinary team of archaeologists, marine biologists, geochemists, and robotics engineers searching for ancient shipwrecks in the Black Sea. With my experiences in Classics, Anthropology, and Chemistry, I assisted the survey team, assessed the cultural and historical aspects of shipwrecks, and assisted the lead scientist with geochemical research of the Black Sea’s stratified water column and the underlying sediments.

This investigation turned into the core research for my senior capstone project in chemistry. We recovered sediment cores from the seafloor and later conducted elemental analyses at the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate School of Oceanography in order to better understand the chemical processes within the water column and sediments, noting how they influence the deterioration or preservation of archaeological artifacts left in situ, or undisturbed. This experience has allowed me to pursue my dual interests in chemistry and classical archaeology, but I would not have had this amazing opportunity had I limited myself to just my major departments of Anthropology and Chemistry. I plan on furthering education in a combination of these fields, possibly in oceanography or archaeometry.