George Bass (archaeologist)

Summary

George Bass
Born(1932-12-09)December 9, 1932
DiedMarch 2, 2021(2021-03-02) (aged 88)
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fieldsunderwater archaeology
InstitutionsTexas A&M University

George Fletcher Bass (/bæs/; December 9, 1932 – March 2, 2021) was an American archaeologist. An early practitioner of underwater archaeology, he co-directed the first expedition to entirely excavate an ancient shipwreck at Cape Gelidonya in 1960 and founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in 1972.

Biography

Bass was born on December 9, 1932 in Columbia, South Carolina to Robert Duncan Bass, an English Literature professor and scholar of the American Revolutionary War, and Virginia Wauchope, a writer.[1][2][3] His uncle was the archaeologist Robert Wauchope.[4] In 1940 Bass moved with his family to Annapolis, Maryland, where his father took up active service with the US Navy in World War II and taught English at the United States Naval Academy.[3][5] He was interested in both astronomy and the sea as a youth and did odd jobs for Ben Carlin, an adventurerer who was the first person to circumnavigate the world in an amphibious vehicle.[5] After graduating high school he began studying for an English major at Johns Hopkins University; during his second year he did an exchange trip to England, attending what is now the University of Exeter, from which he was suspended along with forty other students for pulling a prank. With nowhere else to go he accompanied his brother's roommate and his friends on a spring break trip to Taormina, Sicily, where he first became interested in archaeology as a career.[5] On returning to Johns Hopkins he switched majors and in 1955 he received an M.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology from the university, which improvised a major for him out of courses from the Near Eastern and Classics departments because they did not have an archaeology department.[4][5] He then spent two years at the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, where he excavated at Gordion.[5][6] He began military service in 1957, assigned in South Korea to a 30-man army security group which was attached to the Turkish Brigade near the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Operating around rice paddies he was suddenly responsible for equipment, food, logistics, and operations which was a formative learning experience for future archeology expeditions.[5]

After leaving the army, Bass was invited by fellow archaeologist Rodney Young to work on the first expedition to entirely excavate an ancient shipwreck: Cape Gelidonya (1960). In preparation he took diving lessons at YMCA Philadelphia; he was only able to take one practical diving lesson before the excavation began.[5]Bass became the co-director, alongside Joan du Plat Taylor, of the expedition.[5][7][8] During the 1960s he excavated shipwrecks of the Bronze Age, Classical Age, and the Byzantine.[5] In 1964 he received a Ph.D in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a faculty member for several years.[6]

In 1966, Froelich Rainey, director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, authorized Bass to write a report on the Penn Museum's controversial accession of a set of gold objects believed to have come from the site of Troy, in what is now Turkey. The museum had purchased the gold from a private antiquities dealer. Bass, who at the time was assistant curator in the Mediterranean Section, wrote a report which influenced the museum's articulation of a statement on museum ethics. This was the Pennsylvania Declaration of 1970, which anticipated UNESCO's subsequent issue of the 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership and Cultural Property.

In 1972 Bass founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA).[9] He then became a professor at Texas A&M University, where he held the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Nautical Archaeology.[10]

In 1960, shortly before the Cape Gelidonya expedition, he married Ann Bass (née Singletary), a pianist and piano teacher, who assisted him with his work; the couple had two sons.[11]

He died on March 2, 2021, in a hospital in Bryan, Texas, aged 88.[12][13][14][15]

Awards

Interviews

Bass was interviewed by Adam Davidson with colleague Fred van Doorninck on This American Life in 2010.[20]

Books

  • Beneath the Seven Seas : Adventures with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology by George Fletcher Bass (London : Thames & Hudson, 2005) ISBN 0-500-05136-4, OCLC 60667939
  • Archaeology Under Water by George Fletcher Bass (New York, Praeger, 1966), OCLC 387479
  • Archaeology Beneath the Sea by George Fletcher Bass (New York : Walker, 1975) ISBN 0-8027-0477-8, OCLC 1414901
  • Ancient ships in Bodrum by George Fletcher Bass (Istanbul: Boyut, 2012) ISBN 9789752310315, OCLC 880980693
  • A History of Seafaring Based on Underwater Archaeology by George Fletcher Bass (New York, Walker, 1972) ISBN 0802703909, OCLC 508334
  • Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas: a history based on underwater archaeology by George Fletcher Bass (New York, N.Y. : Thames and Hudson, 1988) ISBN 0-500-05049-X, OCLC 18759167
  • Cape Gelidonya: a Bronze Age Shipwreck by George Fletcher Bass (Philadelphia, American Philosophical Society, 1967), OCLC 953382
  • Navi e Civiltà : Archeologia Marina by George Fletcher Bass (Milano : Fratelli Fabri, 1974), OCLC 8201972
  • Yassi Ada by George Fletcher Bass and Frederick H Van Doorninck (College Station : Published with the cooperation of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology by Texas A&M University Press, ©1982) ISBN 0-89096-063-1, OCLC 7925092
  • Geschiedenis van de scheepvaart weerspiegeld in de scheepsarcheologie by George Fletcher Bass (Bussum : Unieboek, 1973) ISBN 90-228-1908-6, OCLC 64115385
  • Serce Limani, vol. 1: the ship and its anchorage, crew, and passengers by George Fletcher Bass and others (College Station: Published with the cooperation of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology by Texas A&M University Press, 2004) ISBN 0-89096-947-7, OCLC 56457232
  • Beneath the wine dark sea : nautical archaeology and the Phoenicians of the Odyssey by George F Bass, OCLC 41174856
  • A diversified program for the study of shallow water searching and mapping techniques by George F Bass; Donald M Rosencrantz; United States Dept. of Navy, Office of Naval Research; University of Pennsylvania, University Museum (Philadelphia, Pa.: The University Museum, University of Pennsylvania, 1968), OCLC 61423407
  • Glass treasure from the Aegean by George Fletcher Bass (Washington: National Geographic Society, 1978), OCLC 13594255
  • Shipwrecks in the Bodrum Museum of Underwater Archaeology by George Fletcher Bass and Bodrum Sualtı Arkeoloji Müzesi (Bodrum : Museum of Underwater Archaeology, 1996) ISBN 975-17-1605-5, OCLC 35759537
  • New tools for undersea archeology by George Fletcher Bass (v. 134, no. 3 (Sept. 1968) (Washington, D.C. : National Geographic Society, ©1968), OCLC 57758351
  • Archäologie unter Wasser by George Fletcher Bass (Bergisch Gladbach: Lübbe, 1966), OCLC 73584270
  • Marine archaeology: a misunderstood science by George Fletcher Bass (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, ©1980), OCLC 13598481
  • Tesori in fondo al mare by George Fletcher Bass (Milano: Sonzogno, 1981), OCLC 46996362

References

  1. ^ "George F. Bass Underwater Archaeology papers, 1952-1973". Philadelphia Area Archives Research Portal. University of Pennsylvania. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  2. ^ "George F. Bass". National Science and Technology Medals Foundation. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Emerson, W. Eric (August 2, 2016). "Bass, Robert Duncan". South Carolina Encyclopedia. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Keiger, Dale (April 1997). "The Underwater World of George Bass". Johns Hopkins Magazine. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Powell, Eric A (June 28, 2012). "Deep Underwater, George Bass Has Seen Pieces of the Past". Discover Magazine. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b "George Bass". Texas A&M University. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  7. ^ George Fletcher Bass (1967). Cape Gelidonya: a bronze age shipwreck. American Philosophical Society. ISBN 9780871695789.
  8. ^ Hirschfeld, Nicolle. "Joan Mabel Frederica du Plat Taylor, 1906–1983" (PDF). Breaking Ground: Women in Old World Archeology. Brown University. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  9. ^ "George Fletcher Bass, Ph.D". Institute of Nautical Archaeology. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014.
  10. ^ "George Bass". Texas A&M University. Retrieved March 4, 2021.
  11. ^ "Ann Bass". Institute of Nautical Archaeology. Archived from the original on December 23, 2014.
  12. ^ "Tribute to George F. Bass". Institute of Nautical Archaeology. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  13. ^ "George Bass Obituary". The Bryan-College Station Eagle. March 7, 2021. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  14. ^ "Underwater archaeology pioneer George Bass dies at 88". National Geographic. March 5, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  15. ^ Traub, Alex (March 19, 2021). "George Bass, Archaeologist of the Ocean Floor, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved March 21, 2021.
  16. ^ Linda Ellis (December 16, 2003). Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 208–. ISBN 978-1-135-58283-8.
  17. ^ "Awards and Prizes". Society for Historical Archaeology. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  18. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". www.achievement.org. American Academy of Achievement.
  19. ^ National Science Foundation
  20. ^ "Contents Unknown". This American Life. January 22, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2014.