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Odyssey Engages Gifford and Partners for Deep Ocean Archaeological Excavation
LONDON - (BUSINESS WIRE) - August 11, 2003 - World leading archaeological and deep-ocean exploration skills are being combined in an effort to investigate and record the wreck of a 17th century Royal Navy ship-of-the-line.
Following its partnering agreement with the Ministry of Defence, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc has appointed Southampton-based Gifford and Partners Ltd as its archaeological consultant in a path breaking deep ocean archaeological excavation of HMS Sussex, which sank in a storm in the Mediterranean, off the coast of Gibraltar, in 1694.
Odyssey Marine Exploration, Inc. (OMEX), a world leader in deep-ocean archaeological investigation, began the search for the wreck in 1998 using sidescan sonar surveys and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV's). Odyssey has now found a wreck site believed to be that of HMS Sussex in a position which matches contemporary accounts of the sinking. The UK government has entered into a partnering agreement with Odyssey to conduct an archaeological investigation of the wreck site and recover the cargo whose value will be shared between Odyssey and the UK.
Gifford is a long established multi-disciplinary consultancy with a significant track record in large scale archaeological projects. As one of the UK's leading engineering and archaeology consultants with over 400 employees in the UK, and worldwide offices including a presence in Gibraltar, Gifford also has an established track record of working with the UK government, including the Ministry of Defence.
Gifford has wide experience of internationally significant archaeological projects such as at Niuheliang, China, where on behalf of the Liaoning Environmental project an assessment was made of a complex of Neolithic ritual sites and a programme of analysis and conservation for this significant prehistoric landscape was designed.
At Villa Dionysus, Crete, Gifford was commissioned by the British School of Archaeology in Athens to advise on the conservation, interpretation and display of the villa and its important mosaic floor. At Stonehenge in the UK, Gifford has been appointed by the Highways Agency to advise on a road improvement scheme, and will report on the archaeology of Stonehenge and its environs at the forthcoming public inquiry as well as designing and implementing a programme of large-scale archaeological works in advance of construction of a new tunnel for the A303 trunk road.
Odyssey co-founder, Greg Stemm said: "Gifford is a Registered Organisation with the Institute of Field Archaeologists and has a great breadth of experience. They seemed like the clear choice to join us as partners to look after the archaeological aspects of this project. Combining Gifford?s skills with our deep-ocean search and recovery capabilities will establish new standards for archaeology in the deep ocean."
The project will be the most technologically advanced deep-ocean marine archaeological expedition in the world to date, working to a depth of nearly 900 metres in the western Mediterranean. The 1,200 ton Sussex was launched in 1693, the flagship of a fleet of 39 warships assigned to strategic duties in the Mediterranean. The specie which it is hoped will be recovered was thought to be payment to the Duke of Savoy for supplying soldiers in the war of the League of Augsburg against France. On its way to deliver the valuable cargo, the ship sailed into a violent storm, sinking the Sussex, the flagship of Admiral Sir Francis Wheeler.
Gifford will direct the archaeological operation throughout the lifespan of the expedition, ensuring that the archaeological elements of the material recovered will be conserved, analysed and widely published in academic as well as popular formats. Gifford is working closely with Odyssey in its negotiations with the UK Ministry of Defence, and its capabilities will ensure that the expedition is conducted to the best archaeological practice.
Gifford Principal Archaeologist Anthony Martin said: "We hope to learn a great deal about 17th century naval history from this expedition. The specie will obviously attract international attention, but from a purely archaeological perspective this is a tremendous learning opportunity. Gifford, Odyssey and the Ministry of Defence are committed to maximising the research opportunity which the project represents, and we will ensure that all work is conducted in accordance with the highest archaeological best practice.
The Ministry of Defence Team Leader, Geoff Reakes said: "As this is a sensitive and high-profile undertaking, it is important that all aspects of the project are managed by an experienced, multi-disciplinary team.?The integration of Gifford into the project is a welcome development."
Press release issued by Barrett, Byrd Associates.
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The Company believes the information set forth in this Press Release may include "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Certain factors that could cause results to differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements are set forth in "Risk Factors," and "Business" in the Company's annual report on Form 10KSB for the year ended February 28, 2003, which has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
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