The Magazine for Underwater Professionals
Martin Dean, for many years a leading figure in marine archaeology and remote surveying, has died, aged 71.
Through his career, Dean moved between being one of the finest exponents of classic marine archaeology to being in the forefront of sonar imaging development.
His contributions to conventional marine archaeology included writing Guidelines on Acceptable Standards in Underwater Archaeology and co-editing the first edition of Guide to Principles and Practice for the Nautical Archaeology Society, of which he was a trustee and active projects participant.
After working as a curator at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, Dean moved to the University of St Andrews and oversaw, as director, the development of the university’s Archaeology Diving Unit (ADU) into a leading provider of commercial survey and heritage management services.
From its formation in 1986 until 2002, the ADU acted as the British Government’s contracted assessor of historic wrecks sites. While the use of divers was often a desirable option, there were not always the logistical circumstances or sea conditions for deploying them and the impetus for improved remote sensing was high.
Dean became increasingly interested in the development of multibeam sonar imaging. In 2001, a survey of war wrecks in Scapa Flow using such a system aboard the ADU’s survey vessel produced impressive results and put the technology on the map amongst divers and the marine archaeological community.
In 2004, Dean and colleagues launched Advanced Underwater Surveys (ADUS) at the university and others came on board to help develop the system’s 3D and wreck detailing abilities.
In 2008 Dean and two others, Mark Lawrence and Chris Rowland, set up Advanced Underwater Surveys Ltd to run ADUS’s commercial contracts. The company became ADUS DeepOcean Ltd in 2013 when the DeepOcean Group took a 50% share in the concern.
That year, Dean was diagnosed with bile duct cancer but continued to work as special projects consultant at the company. Despite his difficulties, in May 2014 he completed the tough 81-mile Etape Caledonia charity bicycle ride in Perthshire, in aid of Marie Curie Cancer Care.
Dean is survived by his wife, son and grandson.