Teaming Technology with Archaeology to Map Shipwrecks in Malta

Students and faculty from Cal Poly and Harvey Mudd College spent a month this summer working abroad in Malta, deploying underwater robots with the purpose of mapping coastal shipwrecks and developing new technology for marine archaeology.

Organized through a joint International Computer Engineering Experience (ICEX) program, this year’s team included Sam Freed (computer science master's student, Cal Poly), Amy Lewis (software engineering senior, Cal Poly), Roslyn Patrick-Sunnes (computer science senior, Cal Poly), Jeffrey Rutledge (third-year math major, Harvey Mudd), Jane Wu (computer science and math senior, Harvey Mudd) and Wentao Yuan (computer science and math senior, Cal Poly Pomona). Participating faculty members include Cal Poly computer science Professor Zoë Wood and Harvey Mudd engineering Professor Christopher Clark. The team is collaborating with Timmy Gambin, a senior lecturer in the Department of Classics and Archaeology at the University of Malta, among other international partners.

The project goals were to develop an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) system for intelligent shipwreck search, mapping and visualization. The team has mapped several sites and has preliminary results identifying likely site of interests.

Follow the team's underwater archaeology expedition at


Pictured: Cal Poly computer science graduate student Sam Freed and Harvey Mudd College student Jeffrey Rutledge (at fore) assist Harvey Mudd Professor Christopher Clark with the return of an autonomous underwater vehicle deployed by the team to map new regions of coastal waters off Malta.