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The Deepest Dig
Ormen lange marine archaeology project, 2003-2005, report and catalogue

The development of the Ormen Lange field in the Norwegian Sea is one of the largest and most demanding industrial projects ever carried out in Norway. The field produces natural gas, which is then transported by pipeline to the UK. Prior to the development of Ormen Lange, a consequence analysis was carried out, including archaeological investigations at the site of the onshore process terminal as well as offshore in the pipeline corridors. During these investigations a team of archaeologists from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) discovered a historical shipwreck in the pipeline route close to Bud, in one of the very few areas where the underwater terrain made it impossible to re-route the pipeline.

A large collection of bottles and porcelain, along with a large ship s bell and cannons, were observed on the seabed at a depth of some 170 metres. Underwater pictures from the site indicated that the ship probably went down in the second half of the 17th century. A challenging and detailed investigation of the historical site was started, including excavation of parts of the wreck site. The water depth created significant technological challenges for the archaeologists. The Ormen Lange project therefore marks an important milestone for marine archaeology, as archaeological excavations had never before been done at such depths. Through this project, marine archaeology entered the deep ocean with proper methodology and proper tools.

The history behind the discovered wreck, the investigations, and the new technology developed to make deep-water archaeology possible are presented in this book.

Dr Marek E. Jasinski is Professor of Archaeology at the Institute of Historical Studies at NTNU.

Dr Fredrik Søreide is Adjunct Professor at the Department of Marine Technology at NTNU.

The Deepest Dig