Archaeologists know it as Renegade Canyon, a lava gorge in desert badlands with more than 1 million images of hunters, spirits and bighorn sheep etched in sharp relief on cliff faces and boulders.
But this desert is in the heart of the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station, and it is where the Navy and Marines develop and test advanced bomb and missile systems.
Safeguarding the canyon and other troves of rock art from stray bombs and vandalism has been a priority since the Mojave Desert base was established in 1943. Now, the Navy is gearing up for a daunting new mission: creation of the first comprehensive inventory of the largest concentration of petroglyphs in the Western Hemisphere. Read more.
The U.S. Navy, in partnership with the Indonesian Navy, is planning to dive later this month to the sunken USS Houston, a World War II-era shipwreck, according to Navy officials.
The mission’s purpose is to assess the vessel’s condition and allow salvage and rescue divers to train at a real shipwreck site. U.S. and Indonesian Navy divers will share best practices and techniques during the training exercises on board the rescue and salvage ship USNS Safeguard (T-ARS-50).
The outings are part of the Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) 2014, annual military training exercises conducted by the U.S. Navy and allied nations in Southeast Asia that aim to address shared maritime security concerns and strengthen relationships and operations among navies, officials said. Read more.
SAN DIEGO — In the ocean off Coronado, a Navy team has discovered a relic worthy of display in a military museum: a torpedo of the kind deployed in the late 19th century, considered a technological marvel in its day.
But don’t look for the primary discoverers to get a promotion or an invitation to meet the admirals at the Pentagon — although they might get an extra fish for dinner or maybe a pat on the snout.
The so-called Howell torpedo was discovered by bottlenose dolphins being trained by the Navy to find undersea objects, including mines, that not even billion-dollar technology can detect.
"Dolphins naturally possess the most sophisticated sonar known to man," Braden Duryee, an official at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific said after the surprising discovery. Read more.
Stonington — A Navy research boat and staff from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution accompanied local divers Charlie Buffum and Craig Harger of Colchester, this morning out to what they believe is the 201-year-old wreck of the Oliver Hazard Perry’s ship the Revenge, which they have discovered on Watch Hill Reef.
The Navy boat, led by Buffum’s boat, left the Wadawanuck Club dock in the borough at 8 a.m. on what is expected to be a two-day expedition to survey the wreck site using a sophisticated autonomous underwater vehicle from Woods Hole that is equipped with sonar, a magnetometer and a video camera.
Before the boat left this morning, George Schwarz, an underwater archeologist with the Naval History and Heritage Command, said the goal of the trip is to not only use the AUV to map the wreck site found by Buffum and Harger but possibly expand the site by locating nearby pieces of the ship. Read more.
NAPLES, Italy — With his ship ablaze and much of his crew dead, John Paul Jones had the chance to surrender to the British on Sept. 23, 1779. Instead, Jones, dubbed the father of the U.S. Navy, is said to have declared: “I have not yet begun to fight!”
After the British surrendered, Jones’ men tried to save his Bonhomme Richard, but it sank in the North Sea.
Now, more than 220 years later, a team of scientists, Navy enthusiasts and archaeologists is trying to find its remains.
“Bonhomme Richard would be one of the most important archeological discoveries in U.S. naval history,” said Alexis Catsambis, manager of the Naval History and Heritage Command’s underwater archaeology branch. “Discovery would bring with it knowledge of the historic battle, life aboard a ship of the Continental navy, and information about the construction and armament of the ship itself.” Read more.
HONOLULU — The Navy says an archaeologist is monitoring Pearl Harbor land it plans to develop to see if any Native Hawaiian remains and artifacts might be buried there.
Naval Facilities Engineering Command Hawaii said Thursday its first staff archaeologist, Jeff Pantaleo, is leading the monitoring which began earlier this week.
The State Historic Preservation Office has designated site at Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam as critical for Native Hawaiian remains and artifacts. This means the Navy needs to sample soil to determine that new construction won’t disturb anything buried at the location.
Pantaleo says there’s a delicate balance between preserving Native Hawaiian culture and fulfilling the Navy’s mission. He says it’s manageable if you have the right information and can communicate well with both parties. (source)