Translating Submerged and Buried Cultural Heritage
from Shallow Water to Digital Environment with Geoinformatics

About the project

ClepsYdra is a 24 month period research program with the aim to maximize the accessibility to information regarding the current state of now submerged sites by minimizing the gap of available protocols and procedures for shallow-water cultural heritage investigations. Furthermore, ClepsYdra focuses on developing ways to explore and promote these under-studied submerged contexts, improve community awareness and involvement in protection practices, digital curation and informed tourism.

Case-studies are selected in Eastern Crete, where the geomorphological processes shaped large-scale changes (mostly) on the coast. Numerous locations testify here this sensible landscape modification so that past coastal settlements/infrastructures are now covered with water and/or sand layers and are potentially excluded by the scientific community’s discourse on past coastal exploitation. ClepsYdra sides the archaeological research with state-of-the-art methodologies and innovative technological integrated framework for the documentation and promotion of CH, adapting equipment and practices to the shallow underwater context.

The contribution to the documentation of current state of CH will pass through: a) aerial/satellite remote sensing –specifically targeted to historical reconstruction of coastal zone and seabed–, b) digital photogrammetry –with customization of remotely controlled floating device and specific protocols to account for the camera/lens distortion in water medium–, c) geophysical mapping –with adaptation of sensors and protocols for the wet environment– and d) risk assessment –integration of collected spatial information for the estimation of risks for CH–, e) Virtual/Augmented Reality platform –fed with the above for the promotion of submerged CH in unprecedented ways.

ClepsYdra is funded by the Hellenic Foundation for Research and Innovation (H.F.R.I) under the framework of the 2nd Call for H.F.R.I. Research Projects to support Faculty Members and Researchers.

Project Actions

Satellite Remote Sensing

Compile time-based maps and extract spatial information to be used in risk assessment calculation with the collection of available satellite imagery.

Aerial Archaeology and Digital Photogrammetry

Reconstruct historical coastline change and the biography of visible remains for the areas under investigation. Produce a bathymetry model to be used as base for CH documentation and as calibration for geophysical measurements.

Geophysical Mapping

Reveal the archaeological structures that are now buried below the coastal zone and the seabed in the shallow water environment of the selected sites thus connecting and completing the archaeological information between the land and the sea.

Risk Assessment

Identify the natural hazards of the CH sites and evaluate their overall risk assessment.

Virtual/Augmented Reality platform

Design and develop a digital application that intends to offer an engaging and educative experience to its users through a series of interactive virtual experiences, accessing the underwater archaeological sites remotely

Underwater and coastal archaeological investigation

Archaeological underwater investigation of the five sites. Data collection, organization and merging to the production of interpretative reports for each site.

Latest News

MetroArchaeo 2023 Conference in Rome

Participation in the conference Metrology for Archaeology and Cultural Heritage - MetroArchaeo 2023 in Rome. Presentation of two posters under the framework of the "SPECIAL SESSION #21: Remote sensing methods and approaches for Underwater Cultural Heritage research and management" organized by Crescenzo Violante (ISPC – CNR), Barbara Davidde (Ministry of Culture, Italy) and Nikos Papadopoulos (IMS-FORTH).


Seismic refraction tomography and multichannel analysis of surface waves for imaging offshore Cultural Heritage in very shallow water: Results from a synthetic study and real data

In archaeology, applied geophysics helps to discover new findings of our hidden cultural heritage. However, these methods have been particularly developed in terrestrial environments, leaving the shallow marine ones almost unexplored. This paper examines the effectiveness of Multichannel Analysis of Surface Waves MASW and Seismic Refraction Tomography SRT οn imaging submerged and buried antiquities in a very shallow marine environment.

Satellite-Derived Bathymetry for the Islands of South-Eastern Crete

Recent advances in remote sensing techniques and higher availability of satellite sensors has increased their applicability to several scientifc sectors, including marine research and coastal cultural heritage management. Satellite-derived bathymetry is relatively simple, cost-effective, and time-effective method to extract high resolution bathymetry model. The method has been applied to Koufonisi and Chrisi islands off the coast of south-eastern Crete in southern Greece. The islands’ waters have not yet been investigated for their potential value to cultural heritage in the area.

Contact Us

Laboratory of Geophysical - Satellite Remote Sensing and Archaeo-environment

Institute for Mediterranean Studies

Foundation for Research and Technology - Hellas

Project Coordinator

Nikos Papadopoulos, Research Director

Collaborating Organizations