Underwater robot unlocks secrets of the “Sweet Lake”

by    DiveSSI    18th January 2019

A burial mound at the bottom of the lake

The "Sweet Lake" (Süße See)in Saxony-Anhalt (Germany) is a real treasure chest for underwater archaeologists. Detailed 3D maps, which were created with the help of a high-tech underwater vehicle from the famous Fraunhofer IOSB-AST, now clearly show, in addition to numerous historical artefacts’, the structures of a Bronze Age burial mound.

Engineers at Fraunhofer IOSB-AST are currently supporting the work of the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments and Archaeology in Saxony-Anhalt. For the first time, a state-of-the-art ROV (Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle) from the Tortuga family was used at the end of 2018. These vehicles are custom-made for each customer and equipped with the desired sensors. Several vehicles are successfully used on an international scale, but they also provide valuable help to archaeologists in the Sweet Lake: The ROV produces high-resolution videos and sonar data of objects and structures that can even be hidden from seasoned scuba divers in the murky waters. For the first time, a high-resolution 3D map of various objects was created. And only with this treasure trove he reveals his last secrets: An imposing burial mound from around 1400 BC. is located in the middle of the lake. This had already been discovered in April 2018 during a mapping of the entire sea ground and aroused the interest of archaeologists. A more detailed investigation has now been carried out with the help of the Fraunhofer underwater technology from Ilmenau.

Dr. Sven Thomas of the State Office, who was active even in cold and adverse conditions at the end of 2018 as a diver for on site samplingexperienced an exciting venture: " The detailed 3D data of the underwater vehicles helps us a lot to unravel the secrets of the “Sweet lake”. "

A total of two vehicles of the IOSB-AST were used: a ROV supported the divers and helped create 3D data in the vicinity, a mapping of the objects from the water surface was made using a catamaran.

In the spring of 2019, selected findings will be surveyed and recovered by the underwater archaeologists.

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18th January 2019
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