Sarah Yeomans, FN 07, spent the summer of 2014 doing archeological research in Turkey and Italy.
In July she and a group of friends chartered a small ship to identify and survey previously undocumented Greek and Roman sites that can be accessed only by sea.
“Many sites from the ancient Classical world are located along the coastline, since the sea routes were the primary trade and transport highways “ Yeomans explained. “The result of this, especially in Turkey, is that there are many ancient cities of relatively substantial size that have no modern land access.
“It is not unusual to have an ancient site that once had a population of more than 20,000 that is partially submerged in the sea now, and with no other way of accessing it other than by sea and sometimes by helicopter.
She said those in the group “all had a slightly different scholarly agendas, but the sites were the same and it was a great way to see some of these places – many of them are impossible to get to otherwise (unless one has access to a small and nimble helicopter!)
“I must say it is a thrilling experience to be able to swim along an ancient Roman road,” she wrote. “We did casual snorkeling. Getting permits to do more substantial underwater survey by diving is a complicated process in Turkey, and they are very vigilant about patrolling these sites as they are, unfortunately, very vulnerable to looters and treasure seekers.
“The result is that some areas are off limits to SCUBA divers altogether, so our work was limited to those areas that are partially submerged and therefore shallow. These could be observed just by swimming along the surface of the water, where the coast guard could keep an eye on us.”
From Turkey she “spent a month in Rome, researching ancient Roman medicine for her dissertation prospectus research on the Antonine Plague in the 2nd century and the myriad ways it impacted the Roman Empire as a whole.