The implementation of the "Pre-Seabed Disturbance Survey Mitigation" in 2011 significantly altered the life cycle of exploration and development in the Gulf of Mexico. Previous efforts by then MMS, and now BOEM/BSEE to map where sites could be located resulted in a database heavily weighted towards shallow water. Recent collaborative research in deepwater and industry related surveys continue to demonstrate the unpredictability of archaeological sites in the Gulf of Mexico.

Presently operators must perform either a high-resolution geophysical survey or a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) survey prior to beginning any operations that impact the seafloor. These activities often include drilling, pipeline installation and anchoring among others. The collected geophysical data is often enough to provide archaeologists with a reasonable estimation of a site's potential, but not enough to provide identification of a site. Recent ROV investigations in the Gulf of Mexico with NOAA and BOEM/BSEE have provided ground-truthed data for several archaeological sites, and given archaeologists a better opportunity to understand the impact of deepwater on shipwrecks.

Collaborative investigations over the last several years have provided a better model for archaeologists assessing the data in terms of avoidance criteria and potential collaborative interests with the geoscientist. The data provided to the general public during the recent NOAA and BOEM/BSEE cruises provided industry archaeologists with an opportunity to cooperate with one another in a way not previously possible. Increasingly the archaeological sites discovered in deepwater are forcing archaeologists to ask different questions, questions that focus on biology, geology, and geochemistry.

This paper explores the potential for collaborative efforts to better delineate archaeological sites in deepwater, what can be learned from these sites in the geophysical record, and the implications of the geological and metocean environment. Proprietary agreements prevent industry archaeologists from collaborating on typical projects with other deepwater archaeologists, biologists, and researchers working in the deep ocean. The recent NOAA and BOEM/BSEE cruises demonstrate the validity of an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach with deepwater sites.

Typically, industry archaeologists may collaborate internally with one or more archaeologists when reviewing collected geophysical or ROV data. With the 2012 NOAA cruise more than a dozen marine archaeologists representing industry, the federal government, museums, and state governments were able to participate during a wreck site investigation using telepresence. In addition to the marine archaeologists able to provide expertise, dozens of deepwater biologists, engineers, and oceanographers provided their input during the month long cruise.

This paper addresses three of the sites reviewed using a collaborative approach. The three sites were imaged initially using either low frequency side-scan sonar data or multibeam bathymetry data. Two of the three sites were initially discovered by oil and gas surveys, and one was delineated by a NOAA AUV survey. None of the sites were visually examined, however, until the 2012 NOAA Okeanos Explorer ROV cruise.

The NOAA Okeanos Explorer is the United States' only federally funded ship "assigned to systematically explore our largely unknown ocean for the purpose of discovery and the advancement of knowledge (http://oceanexplorer.noaa.gov/okeanos/about.html)." As such, the program is often seeking new locations to explore with the vessel. Until 2012, the ship had not been used to explore marine archaeological sites, and the resulting collaborative team provided several shipwreck sites for consideration.

The NOAA marine archaeological staff for the 2012 expedition included Kelley Elliot and Frank Cantelas. The remaining marine archaeological team for the Gulf of Mexico cruise included Alexis Catsambis, PhD (Naval Heritage and History Command), Amanda Evans, PhD (Tesla Offshore), Kimberly Faulk (Geoscience Earth and Marine Services, a Forum Energy Technologies Company), Jack Irion, PhD (Bureau of Ocean Energy Management), and Daniel J. Warren (C & C Technologies). Additional archaeologists joined the project as the program expanded or as word about the cruise spread on the web and social media.

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