#106 - Emilio Rodríguez-Álvarez | Freediving in Antiquity

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Emilio Rodríguez-Álvarez is an archaeologist specialising in the archaeology of ancient Greece, the study of pottery technology, geographic Information Systems and maritime archaeology. He finished his B.A. at the University of Santiago de Compostela (Galicia) and took his M.A. from University of Reading (UK); after working in Galicia he moved to the University of Arizona (US), in order to work on his Ph.D.

Emilio is a keen freediver himself and is especially interested in the ancient divers of the Mediterranean, he’s done work on, for example, sponge harvesting in the archaeological record of the Mediterranean Basin.and also has a general fascination with all the indigenous, traditional freediving cultures still extant around the world and what we can learn from them.

In this episode we discuss:


Emilio is from Galicia!
How is the discipline of ancient archeology done and how is the science coming along?
Sponges as shock absorbers in helmets!
A collection of references to freediving in antiquity.
The difficulty of doing research and problems with exploring the evidence of ancient freediving.
How did humans start with freediving?
The search for surfers ear.
Neanderthals freediving in ancient Iraq?
Extant traditional freediving cultures around the world such as the Ama, Bajau, Moken etc.
The genetics of the Bajau Laut people and their enlarged spleens.
Ancient Polynesian diving for pearls.
Pearl diving in antiquity and in the Sumerian epic of Gilgamesh
How deep have we been diving through history.
Aristotle and his ear perforation claims!
Ancient nose clips made from pearl shells.
Did Greek divers really deliberately blow out their ear drums?
Early depletion of sea life and how it affected freediving.
Ancient freediving masks and snorkels.
The problem with bronze knifes in the 6th century BCE.
Diving for sponges in the Mediterranean and how it was done.
What were they doing with a mouthful of olive oil?! Ancient flashlight?!
The story of Yorgos Haggi Statti.
Dances that imitate divers health issues.
The role of female freedivers in ancient Greece.

Emilio’s Links:

Emilio’s email : emilio.rodriguez.alvarez@gmail.com

Research Gate



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