September 22: Ancient technology, meet the future of underwater archeology

At first, the idea was a futuristic pipe dream. It popped into Dr. Quentin Mackie’s head while the University of Victoria researcher was attending a conference on underwater archeology and the first peopling of the Americas.

One day, he thought, archeologists might be able to operate an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) equipped with sonar imaging technology that could “fly”’ along the ocean bottom, searching for evidence of ancient coastal civilizations drowned when sea levels rose by as much as 150 metres at the end of the last ice age.

Fast-forward just six months and, with UVic mechanical engineer Alison Proctor and her department’s 3.5-metre long, $1.5-million Bluefin Robotics AUV, and supported by a Parks Canada research vessel and crew, they may have made one of the oldest archeological finds in Canada. Read more here.