There are training camps in Kabardino-Balkaria, archaeological work, the rise of artifacts in the Baltic Sea, an exhibition in Hamburg, an educational project on the Black Sea coast, search work in the north of our country. Representatives of the Undersea Research Center of the Russian Geographical Society (RGS) told about their plans, as well as about the results of work over the past year, at the reporting press conference.
The motto of the meeting with the press in St.Petersburg was "the experts will answer all questions". Most attention is paid, of course, to divers. Divers are not only hard labor, but also explorers and researchers in the Undersea Research Center of the RGS, some of them are underwater archaelogist.
Two major projects have already taken place. Excavations of the 300-year-old merchant ship of Lübeck called "Archangel Raphael" have been bearing fruit in the form of ancient artifacts for some years, which are then preserved in the center’s own laboratory. This is how the collection “Smuggling. Three Centuries Under Water” is replenished, which was exhibited both at the Headquarters of the Russian Geographical Society in St. Petersburg and at the National Center for Defense Management of the Russian Federation in Moscow. And at the end of last year, the exhibits were completed in Oranienbaum. Artifacts will be sent from the State Museum Peterhof to the International Maritime Museum of Hamburg.
Another archaeological success was work on the English ketch in 2018, that sank in the waters of the island of Gogland in the second half of the XIX century. So far, among researchers an unidentified object has received the name "Сupboard", because there were cages with factory faience of two medium-sized British firms on the deck. More than 200 samples were raised and preserved, several tea sets were shown at a press conference along with new artifacts from the “Archangel Raphael”.
In 2019, the excavation at the "Cupboard" will continue. It will become the deepest archaeological work in Russia - the object lies at a depth of 60 meters. Therefore, training will be useful. And there will be several of them this year. Explorers-divers will start from Cerek Kel in Kabardino-Balkaria, the second deepest karst lake in the world. Afterwards, they will go to the ice expedition to the Transundsky roadstead, and in the spring they will have trial underwater excavations at the facility near Kotlin Island where they will be trained to wash the silt inside the vessel. And all this will be under the close supervision of two special physiologists of the Undersea Research Center of the RGS. The expedition cannot take place without the doctors of diving medicine.
By the way, there are not only divers. There are also underwater robots in the arsenal of the Undersea Research Center of the RGS: a remote-controlled uninhabited underwater vehicle (ТНПА) and habitable underwater vehicles (OПА). C-Explorer explored the depths of the blue lake Cerek-Kel and filmed the sides of the sailing-screw frigate “Oleg”. It will be returned to Gogland in 2019, where the Undersea Research Center of the RGS with the Ministry of Defense will conduct a large underwater expedition that year. The mission remains unchanged for the second apparatus of the RGS - S-Quester. ОПА is included in an educational project that is being held on the Black Sea coast by the "Oceanavtika" center in partnership with the All-Russian Children's Center "Orlyonok". This year, registration for the program will last until February 12. All details can be found on the site: oceanautica.ru.
Since 2017, the center has been participating in the creation of a domestic habitable apparatus. And the first steps have already been taken - the pilot ОПА project stage has been completed that was odered by Gazprom. The device is unique according to its characteristics: the immersion depth exceeds 2 kilometers, but the main thing is a spherical transparent habitable body with a viewing angle of at least 270 degrees. In the apparatus, capable of going to such depths, there were only small windows previously. And what tasks the apparatus will have (research or, for example, repair a gas pipeline) depends on the attachments, that will also be developed in Russia.
It will be easier and faster to carry out inspection and fixation of underwater cultural heritage sites with the development of the technical base of underwater research. In 2018, 38 new objects were found using the hydroacoustic method by the team of the Undersea Research Center of the RGS, and divers will dive, take a photo and describe each of them.
In the meantime, all new points on the Baltic Sea map are entered into a single information bank that is a joint project with the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation. The project will allow us to systematize and update the state of the underwater spaces of our country. Then a “dossier” is compiled for each object, in which hydroacoustics, description, photo and video materials are entered. The development of this base is one of the main tasks of the Undersea Research Center of the RGS in 2019.
The press conference was being held for almost an hour and a half. The broadcast on the Youtube and on the social networks of the Undersea Resesarch Center of the RGS's partner Channel 78 collected more than 100,000 views.