Archaeology 2017-03-25T12:06:57+00:00

Triton for Archaeology

Archaeologists are using Triton submersibles to discover, survey and recover assets from the sea bed. Find out more below.


All Triton subs are capable vessels for archaeological research. To fully optimize the vessel for archaeological work, Triton provide upgrades to navigational instrumentation and bathymetric data collection capabilities, an artifact collection skid, upgrades to the manipulator arm, and a fly-out ROV for wreck penetration.

These upgrades allow archaeologists to conduct extremely accurate georeferenced underwater surveys, locate and identify features of interest on the seafloor even under extremely limited visibility conditions, identify wreck artifacts or even entire shipwrecks hidden under sand or other substrates, pick up and return delicate objects to the surface, and enter and film otherwise impenetrable spaces within a shipwreck.

Beyond the installation and integration of these upgrades, Triton also provides comprehensive training programs for their effective use.

More about Training

Notable Archaeological Expeditions

Use the map below to explore some of the most interesting and groundbreaking archaeological expeditions undertaken by Triton submersibles.

Explore all notable Triton Expeditions

Survey Capabilities

Subsea Survey Capabilities

Survey Platform

The ability of a properly equipped Triton to quickly ‘ground-truth’ identified features makes them superior in capability to ROVs, side-scan-sonars and other traditional survey platforms.

Standard survey capabilities can be optimized by adding either, or both, of the following sonar upgrades.

Multi-purpose Multi-beam sonar

Multi-purpose multibeam sonar

When forward facing on an intelligent pan and tilt device, these units provide high-resolution, two-dimensional sonar output for low altitude navigation in low visibility environments, such as low-light or turbid conditions.

When the sub is set to cruise above the seafloor at ten meters or more, however, the unit can be rotated to face downwards and used to provide high resolution bathymetry data.

Linked to the USBL navigation system, the bathymetry data is both fully georeferenced and available in real time. Identified objects of interest on the seafloor can be instantly recognized and, if desired, the sub can be  redirected to examine them in greater detail. The output is directed towards a standalone touchscreen monitored by the technician or scientist operating the sonar. The unit is linked with, and can instantly send waypoints to, the main navigational touchscreen. This integration allows the pilot to navigate toward waypoints whenever appropriate.

Ground penetrating sonar

Ground Penetrating Sonar

This unit provides detection capabilities for objects buried beneath the surface of the seafloor. Detection depths of six to eight meters through sand – and greater than 30m in mud and other soft substrates – are typical.

As with multibeam sonar, the output is provided in real time to a touchscreen computer in the sub. It is integrated with USBL georeferencing data, to allow the rapid re-location and investigation of identified objects of interest.

When working alongside ship-based excavation devices, a Triton sub can be used to retrieve objects of interest buried deep beneath the seafloor.

Artefact Collection Skid

Artefact Collection Skids feature extendable collection drawers that can be adjusted in size depending on the needs of each project. Interior drawer rails allow adjustment to drawer size on the fly.

Beyond dimensions, drawers may be customised to include padding to allow the safe collection and retrieval of easily-damaged fragile artefacts.

Interchangeable Equipment Skids

Triton submersible fitted with archaeological collection skid
Archaeological Manipulator Options

Manipulator Upgrade Options

For archaeological projects that involve the collection of delicate objects and/or the necessity for extremely delicate operation of the manipulator arms, Triton recommends upgrading the standard, rate controlled, 6-function manipulator arm to a position controlled, 7-function arm, for increased dexterity and fine scaled control, and with specially padded jaws for delicate object retrieval. An additional option is the additional of a second manipulator arm, depending on project needs and the prevailing data collection conditions.

Manipulator Options

Fly-out ROV Option

For the interior penetration of intact or semi-intact shipwrecks, Triton offers the installation of a micro ROV (21 x 15 x 17 cm) carrying an impressive 800 tvl x 0.1 lux camera with lights, with an 80 m cable, housed in a garage (70 x 60 x 17 cm) on the side of the sub. Controlled by technicians within the sphere, this ROV can be used to penetrate small spaces within shipwrecks and provide recordable visual information to the sub pilot and passengers, up to 70m away from the sub.

Fly-out ROV

Fly-out ROV for small submersibles.

Header image courtesy Alucia Productions. For promotional purposes only.

Previous: Film & TV

Find out how Triton submersibles are being used for Film & TV production.

Film & TV
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