Tuesday, January 4, 2005

New Tools For Teaching: Washington College Given Marine "ROV" For Underwater Archaeology Program

Chestertown, MD, January 3, 2005 — Jacques Cousteau, step aside! Washington College has a new addition to its high-tech tool chest of sidescan sonar, magnetometers and seabed scanners for its undergraduate programs in archaeology and environmental studies. The College has received its first marine Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV)—a Titan SII ROV—donated by Morris “Chic” Ransone, president of Annapolis-based International Industries, Inc. The ROV will allow professors and students to image and record data on underwater sites for archaeological and environmental studies research projects.

“This donation provides another important tool in our growing array of underwater survey equipment,” said John Seidel, Ph.D., associate professor of anthropology and environmental studies at Washington College and an expert on marine archaeology. “Our staff and students will put it to good use during the coming spring, in conjunction with a course on marine archaeology and an on-going survey of the Chester River. We will also use it to ‘ground truth' underwater finds made with other instruments without having to put a diver in the water.”

An ROV is essentially a watertight housing for a video camera that can dive below the surface of the water and transmit pictures back to a boat via a cable connection. An operator can maneuver the vehicle in any direction through a joystick control. Valued at $7,000, the ROV is a gift of International Industries, Inc., an Annapolis-based firm that markets hydrographic and oceanographic equipment for science and industry.

“I have been working in underwater investigations since 1958 and am very interested in Dr. Seidel's work in furthering students' interest in this field,” said Chic Ransone, president of International Industries, Inc., who has more than 40 years experience in marine operations, instrumentation, surveying and underwater exploration. “As a graduate of a small, private college myself, I know very well how an excellent teacher, with the right equipment, can instill in students a lifetime enthusiasm for underwater exploration.”

“This ROV is a simple but versatile unit, with the kind of attributes that beginners and professionals can use,” Seidel added. “I think our students will get a real thrill when they learn to operate something they probably have only seen on the Discovery or National Geographic channels.”

For more information about Washington College's archaeology program, visit http://archaeology.washcoll.edu.

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