Questions for ‘Diving deep into history’

Underwater archaeologists dig up the remains of the past. This wood is what’s left of the hull of the Trouvadore. This Spanish ship had transported slaves in the early 1800s to the British Indies.

Search for the Slave Ship Trouvadore/NOAA

To accompany feature ‘Diving deep into history’


Before Reading

1.    What kind of things about the past might scientists be able to discover by exploring underwater?

2.    Why might undersea sites be especially good places to preserve clues about human history?

During Reading

1.     What did deep-sea biologists in North Carolina find underwater that led them to realize they had stumbled upon a shipwreck?

2.     Why are shipwrecks good places to dig up clues about human history?

3.     What do archaeologists do?

4.     What are two examples of technologies that have helped scientists explore underwater sites?

5.     What is side-scan sonar and how does it work?

6.     Why are areas near coastlines treasure troves for archaeologists?

7.     According to the article, what have scientists learned about farming and commerce in Europe by studying undersea sites in the English Channel?

8.     Why is reaching the Antikythera wreck difficult, and what strategies have researchers used to help divers spend more time underwater there?

9.     How can an Exosuit help divers explore undersea archaeological sites?

10.  How do divers move around in the Exosuit?

After Reading

1.    If you could snap your fingers to create any technology for exploring undersea archaeological sites, what would you like that technology to be able to do? Explain your reasons.

2.    Imagine that in 2,000 years, the town or city where you live has been submerged under a vast sea. What discoveries might archaeologists of the future make there? What might it tell them about the culture of your community?


1.    Do some research on the Antikythera Mechanism. Why do some people refer to it as the earliest computer? What was its function? Why might having it afford its owner some power (hint: consider its function)? What modern technology might be the closest analog to this device, at least in terms of importance? And think about how long the Antikythera Mechanism survived. Would most modern technologies last as long beneath the waves? Why or why not?