Showing off Treasures under the Sea

Article excerpt

Byline: Kari Allen Daily Herald Staff Writer

Making waves

Robert Ballard's accomplishments include:

- Discovering RMS Titanic, which sank in 1912.

- Discovering German battleship Bismarck, which sank in 1942.

- Discovering 11 warships from lost fleet of Guadalcanal.

- Leading exploration of luxury liner Lusitania, which sank in 1915.

- Leading exploration of hospital ship Britannic, Titanic's sister ship, which sank in 1916.

- Leading first manned exploration of Mid-Ocean Ridge.

Robert Ballard has seen more human history in 35 years than most people can squeeze into a lifetime.

Not in museums or shrines, but on the bottom of the ocean floor.

He's linked archaeology and oceanography in more than 100 deep-sea expeditions. He's glimpsed into past lives and traditions through sunken, long-lost treasures - from ancient Roman ships and lamps to a chandelier still intact on the RMS Titanic.

Ballard shared his undersea world and discoveries with an invitation-only crowd Thursday at the Lisle Hilton.

"Since I'm used to being in total darkness, I'll feel right at home," he said as the lights dimmed and he started a slide show.

He showed pictures of underwater mountain ranges he was the first to explore, bits and pieces of the Titanic, and pottery from ancient Roman vessels.

"It's been down there for 2,000 years," he said as a slide of a Roman vase discovered in the Mediterranean Sea flashed on the screen, "And you can still see the glaze."

Other items remained relatively new looking, as well. It's one of the reasons the sea is Ballard's favorite place to explore.

That, and the fact that once they come to rest on the ocean floor, historic artifacts can't go too far. …