Next Meeting: Wednesday, February 28th

The UASC meets the last Wednesday of each month at the Chicago Maritime Museum located at 1200 West 35th Street, Suite OE5010, Chicago, IL 60609. Free event, ALL ARE WELCOME. Refreshments 6:30, Business 7:00, Speaker 8:00.


Underwater Archaeological Society of Chicago



March 2016 Meeting PDF Print E-mail

Underwater Archeaology Society Of Chicago


March 30, 2016

President Bob Rushman welcomed approximately 40 members and guests.

Secretary Carol Sommers stated that the minutes are on our website.

Treasurer Karen Rushman reported that Our World Underwater and Ghostships brought in $518. Our total is $10,896.

2016 dues are due and after the next meeting, no e-mails will be sent to those who are not paid up.

ICSSD - Thank you to those who helped at the booth. At the club appreciation night, the speaker was cancelled because of a case of food poisoning. Bob Gadbois gave a talk on shipwrecks and other clubs. At the Underwater Competition, Chicago Scuba Meet-Up won and The Atlantis Divers and Tritons came in second. Coming up events include the Jim Haigh Memorial Dive on July 17, pumpkin carving on October 4 and the banquet on October 29. Scott Reimer will be attending the Beneath the Seas in New Jersey.

Ghostships - Thank you to all volunteers. Our guest speaker drew the winning raffle for the volunteers who helped at OWU and GS. John Bell won a watercolor of a favorite photo done by Carol Sommers.

Survey Reports - John Bell thanked all who helped with the car ferry report. Several copies of the report are still available and can be purchased for $15 at the meetings or $20 through the mail.

Recent dive adventures - There are no recent dive reports but Bob, Jim and Scott all plan to go to Haigh Quarry when it opens on April 2.

Upcoming events - The Chicago Maritime Festival will be at the Old Town School of Folk Music on April 16th. Carol will be in charge of the booth but we will just have a table, not the hanging displays. There will be a kick-off party at 7 pm on Friday, April 15 at the Maritime Museum with performers from the festival. At the third Friday in May (the 20th), there will be a talk on 19th century shipboard life at the Maritime Museum.

At the April meeting, there will be the dive charter drawing for our eight new members.

Website - Colin will be making a new members list. Bob Gadbois mentioned that the website should have the information for meetings several months in advance and others agreed.

Other business - John Gerty has offered to publish the next Wreckchecker, but needs material to do so. Scott Reimer said it is a thankless job and we should send him content. We need a speaker for June and ones after July.

Member presentation - John Loftus presented on the wreck of the George F. Williams which was an 1889 wooden schooner owned by the Gilchrist Transportation Company. Grain was shipped east and coal was shipped west. In 1910, the company went into receivership and the Williams was sold for only $500. While being towed a storm snapped the cables and the 280-foot long ship sunk. In 1986, Tim Early discovered it and 400 hours were spent on its survey. It is located in 12-15 feet of water by the Knickerbacker pier. When diving it, one is above it when the two power plant smokestacks on the horizon are lined up so that one is behind the other. The fuzzy wreck is covered with algae and sea life and although most of the boat was salvaged there is a boiler within three feet of the surface. It is an easy dive with over an hour on one tank, but with all the boat traffic, it's necessary to have a dive boat and flags.

Featured Speaker – Terry Poulos spoke about a 50-meter long Roman-era shipwreck full of Bronze Age artifacts which was found by sponge divers in 1900 fifty meters off the Greek Island of Antikythera. Amphora and coins definitely date the age of the ship to 80-50 BC. The first divers saw what looked like dead bodies, but turned out to be marble statues covered with sea life. The statues and silt helped protect a lump of metal which was a complex geared invention thought by some to be invented by Archimedes. The device has differential gears which attest to the inventor’s knowledge of differential calculus. (At present, the Archimedes screw is still used to move water, even in chemical plant processing.) Modern imaging techniques showed that this hand-cranked mechanism had 30 gears-some of which had odd, prime-numbered teeth--and could predict the movement of the five known planets and lunar and solar eclipses. It had a separate dial indicator with a four-year calendar which could predict the correct date for the Greek (“Olympic”) games which took place at that interval.

The Antikythera Mechanism, as it is commonly named, accounted for the elliptical orbit of the moon, the wobble of the Earth’s axis and the procession of the equinox. The device also gave the information of when crops should be planted and debts were due in accordance with lunar or celestial alignment. Its owner would have been regarded as a sage and possession of it could curry favors with a king because it could predict a solar eclipse which would be an advantage as to when to attack an enemy. In 2005, working models were made of it—the best being by Michael Wright. During his speech, Terry introduced Richard Easton in the audience whose father, Roger, invented GPS. Richard wrote “GPS Declassified” detailing those efforts. His brother helped image a codex of Archimedes mathematical treaties. They were written on a “palimpsest” which means that the original paper or parchment was used first for the treaties and then it became a prayer book with prayers written over them by a Byzantium scribe. In 2014, the Wood’s Hole Oceanographic Institute and the Greek government used state-of-the-art rebreathers and an underwater spacesuit to recover eighty more artifacts. The wreck is fifty meters deep and in 1922 divers certified to only twenty-five meters used old bell helmets with a five-minute working time to salvage it. In the attempt, two were paralyzed and one died. After a lively Q & A, Terry brought out his own sculpture which he calls the “Art-Ikyther”, and is on display at the National Hellenic Museum through April. (Photos are on the UASC website.) Noting the coins in the shipwreck, Terry minted the first coin to ever commemorate the mechanism and it can be seen in the permanent collection of the British Museum, National Hellenic Museum, the American Numismatic Association and the American Numismatic Society. Terry has made two other works – two ancient Atlantian “time machines” which are on display at Hilton-Asmus Contemporary in River North, Chicago.

The next meeting is April 27 and Joan Forsberg will speak about the Griffon. Bill Messner recommended reading her book in advance. On May 25 Taras Lyssenko’s topic will be “The Shipwrecks of A & T Recovery”. On July 27, Tom Ewert will show a video about his thirteen- hour- long dive trip in a submersible to see the Bismark.

Minutes respectfully submitted by Carol Sommers.


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