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The Centre Camille Jullian: Fifty Years of Maritime and Nautical Archaeology

Abstract : Fifty years ago, in 1968, André Tchernia, at the time director of the French Ministry of Culture’s newly created ‘Direction des Recherches Archéologiques Sous-Marine’, commenced excavation of a Roman-era wreck, Planier III (mid 1st century BC) in Marseilles Bay. It was the first French underwater excavation carried out by academics (1968, 1970 – 1971, 1975; Tchernia, then P. Pomey), the project, beyond its scientific interest, played the role of a technical test site in view of excavating the Madrague de Giens wreck. With this goal in mind, in 1970 Tchernia assembled a team within the Institut d’Archéologie Méditerranéenne (IAM) (UP-CNRS) made up of underwater archaeologists and specialist technicians. This was the first team of this type within either the university or the CNRS, and it became the maritime and nautical-archaeology team now attached to the Centre Camille Jullian, created in 1978 following on from the IAM. The Madrague de Giens excavation (1st century BC) directed between 1972 and 1982 by Tchernia and Pomey, assisted by A. Hesnard, was the founding project for French scientific underwater archaeology. The extent of the wreck allowed a light to be thrown on both the study of the cargo within the framework of research into maritime trade and the analysis of the hull, which enabled the development of nautical archaeological studies. In the wake of the Giens excavation, the team took on the excavation of the Roman wrecks of Grand Ribaud D (1983 – 1984, Hesnard) and Camarat 2 (1987 – 1989, Hesnard; 1993 – 1994, M.-B. Carre). From 1991 to 2000, Pomey with F. Guibal (AMU, CNRS, IMBE) launched a programme of research into the dendrochronology of ancient wrecks, which led to the re-opening and analysis of about 30 ancient wrecks from along the French Mediterranean coast. At the same time, in 1992 – 1993, the activities of the CCJ widened to include the archaeology of ports with the excavation of the ancient port of Marseilles, Place Jules Vernes (directed by Hesnard). Seven ancient wrecks, of Greek and Roman dates, were found and excavated, and their study was entrusted to the nautical-archaeology team at the CCJ (directed by Pomey). This study led in 2013 to the construction of Gyptis, a sailing replica of the ancient Greek wreck Jules Verne 9, which confirmed the CCJ’s specialization in the reconstruction of ancient wrecks (P. Poveda, M. Rival, R. Roman). Within the framework of nautical archaeology in a port context, from 2004, G. Boetto was able to excavate and study the wrecks of the ports of Ostia, Naples, Isola Sacra, and Toulon. And since 2007, as part of a Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs mission, and in collaboration with various Croatian partners, she has directed archaeological research into the ancient wrecks of Dalmatia, Istria and on the river Kupa, including the sewn boat of Zambratija, dated to the late Bronze Age.
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Contributor : Giulia Boetto <>
Submitted on : Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 3:59:48 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 7, 2019 - 2:29:42 PM
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Patrice Pomey, Giulia Boetto. The Centre Camille Jullian: Fifty Years of Maritime and Nautical Archaeology. 15th International Symposium on Boat and Ship Archaeology - ISBSA 15, Giulia Boetto; Patrice Pomey; Pierre Poveda, Oct 2018, Marseille, France. ⟨halshs-01992826⟩

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