George Bass (archaeologist)

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George Bass
Born (1932-12-09) December 9, 1932 (age 87)
Alma mater
Scientific career
Fieldsunderwater archaeology
InstitutionsTexas A&M University

George Fletcher Bass (/bæs/; born December 9, 1932) is recognized as one of the early practitioners of underwater archaeology, along with Peter Throckmorton, Honor Frost, and others.


Bass was the co-director, alongside Joan du Plat Taylor, of the first archaeological expedition to entirely excavate an ancient shipwreck: Cape Gelidonya (1960).[1][2] Since directing his first excavation as a PhD student, he has excavated shipwrecks of the Bronze Age, Classical Age, and the Byzantine. Bass is professor emeritus at Texas A&M University, where he held the George T. and Gladys H. Abell Chair in Nautical Archaeology. He holds an M.A. in Near Eastern Archaeology from The Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. in Classical Archaeology from the University of Pennsylvania.

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 1973 Bass founded the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA).[3]



Bass was interviewed by Adam Davidson with colleague Fred van Doorninck on This American Life in 2010.[8]


  • 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
  • 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 Phoenicains 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


  1. ^ George Fletcher Bass (1967). Cape Gelidonya: a bronze age shipwreck. American Philosophical Society.
  2. ^ Hirschfeld, Nicolle. "Joan Mabel Frederica du Plat Taylor, 1906–1983" (PDF). Breaking Ground: Women in Old World Archeology. Brown University. Retrieved April 24, 2020.
  3. ^ George Fletcher Bass, Ph.D. Archived 2014-12-23 at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Linda Ellis (16 December 2003). Archaeological Method and Theory: An Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. pp. 208–. ISBN 978-1-135-58283-8.
  5. ^ "Awards and Prizes". Society for Historical Archaeology. Retrieved September 30, 2016.
  6. ^ "Golden Plate Awardees of the American Academy of Achievement". American Academy of Achievement.
  7. ^ National Science Foundation
  8. ^ "Contents Unknown". This American Life. January 22, 2010. Retrieved January 29, 2014.