Tuesday 30 August 2016

Mandrone WW1 Project

On August 25th and 26th 2016 a team of divers and archaeologists has explored the bottom of lake Mandrone (2.409 m.a.s.l.), Adamello Alps/Italy. Under the direction of prof. Tiziano Camagna, the team has localized and documented the wrack of a boat build there during World War I.

Team-leader Tiziano Camagna was supported by the archaeologists of Arc-Team Ltd. (Cles/Sexten – Italy), Alessandro Bezzi, Luca Bezzi and Rupert Gietl. Massimiliano Canossa and Nicola Bonisegna, underwater-experts from NauticaMare DiveTeam, have realized high-resolution videos and photos.

The main target of the mission was the localization and documentation of the wooden remain on the ground of lake Mandrone. The boat was build between 1916 and 1918 and sank some years after the end of WW1. Pictures and videos taken by the divers will now be processed by the archaeologists in order to extract a detailed 3D model using Computer Vision technologies like SfM (Structure from Motion) and MVS ( Multiple View Stereovision).

Tiziano Camagna first localized the remain in 2003, comparing it with two historical photos published by Luca Viazzi in the volume "I diavoli dell'Adamello - 1915 -1918 La guerra a quota tremila". The first shot is showing Italian mountain troops (Alpini) building a boat near the “Julius Payer” refuge, situated about 800m northeast from lake Mandrone. The second Capt. Castelli rowing on the lake.

The Adamello Alps have been one of the highest war theaters of WW1. In the area around lake Mandrone and the refuge “Città di Trento” we can still find lots of archaeological remains of that period: Trenches, barracks, observation positions and a small military cemetery.

Austro-Hungarian and Italian troops had not only to fight against each other, but primarily against the harsh climate on altitudes up to 3.900 m.a.s.l., 10-12 meters of snow in the winter and temperatures right down to -30°C (-10°F).

Thanks to the support of the wildlife park “Adamello-Brenta” and the Gallazzinis, tenants of the refuge “Città di Trento”, the equipment of our expedition was transported on site with the goods cable lift of the refuge. The team went up by foot, walking about three hours starting at the head of “Genova” valley. On the last stage, from the refuge to the lake, the gear was carried on the back.
In order to facilitate the transport, divers choose light equipment like the sidemount system.
During the dive our photographer Nicola Boninsegna localized a wooden trunk on the ground, a discovery that gives rise to some new research questions, considering the total absence of trees on that altitudes. 

The find will be analyzed soon, in order to get dating and identification of the species.

This mission was also an opportunity for a high altitude test of our ROV prototype (Remotely Operated Vehicle), named ArcheoROV developed by WitLab laboratories from Rovereto, in collaboration with Arc-Team.

Last but not least the team wants to thank the Department for Cultural Heritage of Trento (Office of Archaeological Heritage) for close cooperation.

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