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George F. Bass ✞

Founder, Institute of Nautical Archaeology
TAMU Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Worked at TAMU from


Dr. Bass, professor emeritus, held the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Nautical Archaeology. As one of the leading pioneers in the field of underwater archaeology, he set the standards for others to follow. In his more than 30 years of research and teaching in this field, he excavated a number of shipwreck sites ranging from the Bronze Age up through the eleventh century A.D. Most of his work was in the Mediterranean, but he also conducted underwater research in many other areas of the world, including the Caribbean and the waters of Virginia and Maine.

As a classical archaeologist, his research also included many terrestrial projects; he directed or assisted in prehistoric terrestrial excavations in Greece, Turkey, and Italy. He was a past president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the former archaeological director of INA.  He retired from teaching in December 2000.

George F. Bass was the first person to excavate an ancient shipwreck in its entirety on the sea bed.  Since 1960 he excavated Bronze Age, Classical Age, and Byzantine wrecks.  Founder of the Institute for Nautical Archaeology (INA), he is now Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Texas A&M University.  He was awarded the Archaeological Institute of America’s Gold Medal for Distinguished Archaeological Achievement, an Explorers Club Lowell Thomas Award, a National Geographic Society La Gorce Gold Medal and the Society’s Centennial Award, the J.C. Harrington Medal from The Society for Historical Archaeology, and honorary doctorates from Boğaziçi University in Istanbul and the University of Liverpool.  In 2002 President George W. Bush presented him with the National Medal of Science.  His books include Archaeology Under Water, A History of Seafaring Based on Underwater Archaeology, and Ships and Shipwrecks of the Americas, all published by Thames & Hudson.