Anna Marguerite McCann, PH.D

Visiting Scholar, M.I.T.

Science, Technology, Society Program: Deep Arch Research Group

200 East 66th St., Apt. B-2104
New York City, N.Y. 10021
Fax: 212-355-3104


Brief Biography:

     Anna Marguerite McCann, an archaeologist and art historian, is a visiting scholar at M.I.T. in their program in Science, Technology and Society and part of their Deep Archaeology Research Group. She received her B.A. from Wellesley College, her M.A. from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University and her Ph.D. from Indiana University. She was a Fulbright Fellow at the American School of Classical Studies in Athens and a Rome Prize Fellow in Classical Archaeology at the American Academy in Rome.  She is the former Archaeological Director of the Skerki Bank Deep Sea Project and is currently the Archaeological Director for the Tuscan Deep Water Survey with the American Academy in Rome and the Soprintendenza ai Beni Archeologicia per la Toscana begun in 2001 with the MIT Sea Grant College Program.

     Dr. McCann’s research focuses on underwater archaeology as well as ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. A pioneering woman in the field of Maritime Archaeology, she began her work in 1965 exploring the ancient harbors of Italy. She is particularly known for her exploration of the Roman port of Cosa on the Tuscan coastline. Most recently, Dr. McCann began the first archaeological exploration of the deeper oceans with the new robotic technology in collaboration with Robert D. Ballard. She was the archaeological director for the first JASON Project  in 1989 and returned in 1997 to this site off Skerki Bank in international waters off Sicily. She has recently completed the publication of this project with John P. Oleson, Deep-Water Shipwrecks off Skerki Bank: The 1997 Survey (Journal of Roman Archaeology, Suppl. Ser. 58, 2004).   Dr. McCann has published 7 books and some 60 articles and lectures widely in this country and abroad to both scholarly and lay audiences.

       Dr. McCann directed the excavations at the Roman port and fishery of Cosa and at the Etruscan ports of Populonia and Pyrgi. She has participated in underwater excavations at Yassi Ada, Turkey and in Taranto, Italy.  She has taught widely, including:  the University of Missouri, University of California at Berkeley, University of Washington in Seattle, Williams College, Trinity College, New York University and Boston University.  She was curator in the department of Greek and Roman Art in the Metropolitan Museum, New York City, and published for them an award winning book: Roman Sarcophagi in the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York 1978).  Dr. McCann was also guest curator for the exhibition, “Challenge of the Deep” at the Mystic Aquarium, Mystic, Conn., 1999.

       Dr. McCann was the founder of the Underwater Archaeological Committee for the Archaeological Institute of America and a longtime trustee. She received the AIA’s gold medal award in 1998 and their James R. Wiseman Book award for The Roman Port and Fishery of Cosa: A Center of Ancient Trade (Princeton University Press, 1987).  She also received Wellesley College’s distinguished Alumnae Achievement Award in 1997.

      Dr. McCann is dedicated to furthering collaborative efforts between archaeologists, engineers, and oceanographers in the exploration of the deep sea and to the preservation of our maritime cultural heritage.  She supports the establishment of the new UNESCO conventions for exploration in international waters. She is committed to collaboration with archaeologists from the adjoining countries and to the practice of professional ethics.  In teaching and research, she stresses furthering core values in the Humanities, the use of the latest technologies and sharing archaeology with the lay public. Her hobbies are swimming, snow shoeing, music and studying Italian.  She lives both in New York City and Vermont with her husband, Robert D. Taggart.

Why I got into Underwater Archaeology: 

        Dr. McCann writes:  “I got into Underwater Archaeology because I love the ocean and I love to swim. I spent my summers growing up on the coast of Maine. To be able both to swim and use my professional training in archaeology seemed to me the best of all possible worlds. I have been lucky to have had the support of both a loving family and husband who encouraged me to go ahead. My Dad gave me my first underwater camera that opened up a new and beautiful world. Diving with SCUBA (the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus) was just beginning in the 1950’s when I was in graduate school and I thought it would be a challenge to learn to SCUBA dive and explore the sea. Diving appealed to my youthful sense for adventure and it still does. Maybe adventure was in my genes. My Dad had been one of America’s pioneer Naval Aviators in World War I and I think his example of courage in exploring the then unknown was also an inspiration in my particular choice of profession.

       Besides being fun to find things underwater, it’s even more fun to bring them up, study them, and put them together. Sometimes they reveal a little piece of history that would have been lost unless you had found it. And that’s a real thrill--to touch the past and find you are linked to it. I hope the SEA will challenge some of you, as it did me, to keep on with both your studies and to learn to be good swimmers and SCUBA divers. There is lots more to discover for the sea is just beginning to yield up its storehouse of history and treasures of all kinds.”



Curriculum Vitae


            Areas of Specialization

            Present Positions

            Teaching and Museum Employment

            Archaeological Fieldwork

            Special Honors and Grants


            Selected Publications

            Recent Public Lectures and Symposia

            Special Honors, Grants

            Memberships and Committees


Skerki Bank Deep Water Archaeological Project

The Roman Port and Fishery of Cosa