Man has submerged in the sea since earliest history. Archeologists have classified mother-of-pearl artifacts dating from 4500 B.C.; the Emperor Yu in China is reported to have received oyster pearls as a tribute from tribesmen in 2200 B.C. In Homer’s Iliad, written prior to 700 B.C., there is mention of military diving operations during the Trojan Wars (1194 B.C.). In both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, and in the Koran and Talmud, pearls are frequently mentioned as a standard of purity and ideal beauty. Indeed, in Rhodes of the 3rd century B.C., diving was regulated by special laws governing divers and the payment of a share of treasure salvaged from the deep. The share increased as the depth increased.
A History of Man's Deep Submergence
By Commander W. F. Searle, Jr., U. S. Navy