Reported by Toni L. Carrell
(Fall 2004 SHA Newsletter 37)
Parks Canada, Underwater Archaeological Services (UAS): The bulk of UAS fieldwork in 2003 was devoted to inventory projects in Québec and Ontario. A final season of survey was conducted in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence National Marine Park during July and August 2003. Over a five-week period, a field crew under the direction of Marc-André Bernier conducted the following work: inspection of 19th-century mill and harbor sites along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River near Saint Siméon; and side scan sonar surveys in the vicinity of Île aux Lièvres (Hare Island) and Île aux Fraises (Strawberry Island) situated in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. The team conducted sonar target verification dives and found at least two large sections from a single 19th-century wooden ship that has yet to be identified.
A long-term inventory project of the Trent-Severn Waterway, under the direction of Willis Stevens, continued into 2003. This 386-km-long (240-mi.-long) canalized waterway links Lake Ontario with Georgian Bay (Lake Huron). A UAS team conducted the following work in the spring and early autumn of 2003: underwater shoreline searches near terrestrial prehistoric sites in Sparrow Lake and Lake Couchiching (both near Orillia, ON) and Rice Lake (near Peterborough, ON); and core sampling and test-pitting in shallow water adjacent to a prehistoric site on White Island in Rice Lake (near Peterborough). This work resulted in the controlled collection of several hundred artifacts, in particular Middle Woodland ceramic and lithic fragments (ca. 300 B.C. - A.D. 900); and survey of a suspected prehistoric fish weir in Lovesick Lake near Burleigh Falls, ON. This site was found in 1999 by Chief Kris Nahrgang (Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation) who has collaborated with UAS archaeologists to locate and map submerged stake alignments at the weir site. One radiocarbon sample taken from a stake has yielded a date of 835 ± 40 B.P. The UAS team also conducted side scan sonar surveys of the Otonabee and Severn Rivers and mapped the wrecks of the steamers G-Whiz (1911-1917) and Pocahontas (1885-1896) near Orillia, ON.
UAS staff presented four Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) courses in 2003, three for the benefit of sport divers in Kingston and Ottawa, ON, and Gatineau, QC. A fourth was given in Mexico by Marc-André Bernier to archaeologists and sport divers working with the Instituto Nacional de Antropología y Historia (INAH). This course was preparatory to a survey for submerged cultural resources near Campeche, as well as the 1630-1631 New Spain's Fleet Research Project. While in Mexico, Marc-André also provided NAS tutor- certification training for several participants. All UAS staff completed a three-day commercial nitrox diving and gas blending course in August.
Robert Grenier continued to travel extensively in his capacity as President of the International Committee on the Underwater Cultural Heritage of ICOMOS. Workshops and meetings that Robert attended in Hong Kong, Sri Lanka, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe were aimed at supporting and promoting the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Continuing a recent program of reciprocal staff exchanges undertaken with the U.S. National Parks Service, Ryan Harris had the opportunity to accompany the Submerged Resources Center team during their survey of a B-29 Superfortress bomber crashed in Lake Mead, NV. Along the same lines, Jonathan Moore spent three days on the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum's Valcour Bay Research Project, where museum staff and diving volunteers are surveying the site of the Battle of Valcour Island (1776). The international travel and exchanges conducted by UAS staff underscore not only the increased cooperation between federal governments in Canada, the United States, and Mexico, but also the benefits to be gained through the exchange of ideas and experience regarding underwater archaeology.
Institute of New Hampshire Studies (INHS): The Serapis Project team, under the auspice of INHS at Plymouth State University, New Hampshire, in conjunction with the Museum of Art and Civilization of the University of Antananarivo, Madagascar, continued preliminary investigations on the presumed site of Serapis. The ship was taken from the British by John Paul Jones during the American Revolution during the famous naval battle with Bonhomme Richard in 1779. This pivotal engagement gave the American cause encouragement during the dark days of the Revolution. The ship ended up in the French navy and was subsequently lost off the coast of Isle Ste. Marie in 1781.
The Serapis Project is the first maritime archaeological investigation in the waters of Madagascar. Support for the investigations also came from several governmental sources including Prime Minister Jacques Sylla, Ambassador to the Malagasy Mission of the United Nations Zina Andrianarivelo-Razafy, and President of the Province of Toamasina Emile Tsizaraina. All expressed their support for the project, the inclusion of Malagasy students in the research, and continued research on Isle Ste. Marie to expose Madagascar's unique cultural resources and protect the undersea heritage.
The wreck site was originally located in 1999 by Dick Swete. During the latter part of May 2004, a dive team returned to Isle Ste. Marie in order to define the site parameters. Under the direction of Michael Tuttle, the American field crew consisted of Michael Krivor, Greg Cook, Norine Carroll, and Kelly Bumpass. Dr. Jean-Aime Rakotoarisoa of the University of Antananarivo was met in Tamatave prior to the field work to coordinate the project efforts with the local authorities. Additionally Dr. Rakotoarisoa visited Ste. Marie to aid in the field investigations and examined potential facilities for a future museum display site. Local hoteliers and entrepreneurs Henri Bellon and Xavier Pene provided the survey crew with accommodations and all dive related materials for the project
Diving for the project in the harbor of Ambudifutatra was directed and coordinated by Michael Krivor and Xavier Pene. During the investigation more copper bottom sheathing was observed. A ballast pile was also located in proximity to the exposed copper. Within the matrix numerous artifacts were observed in association with the obvious ship materials. All the material was exposed on the harbor bed of the port of Ambudifutatra. These features were mapped in and recorded, and are in the process of being drawn by Greg Cook. All artifacts recovered were recorded either photographically or drawn under the direction of Norine Carroll. Only a limited number of artifacts were kept for diagnostic purposes and further analysis. The most important consist of copper bottom sheathing with some associated fasteners, a wood sample, and a ballast rock. These have been deposited at the University of Antananarivo Museum of Art and Civilization for conservation and education samples for the students there.
Analysis of the artifacts and data are currently underway. Three artifacts of copper, wood, and ballast will be forwarded to Dr. Douglas McElvogue of the Mary Rose Trust in England for analysis. A site plan and a project report are planned to document the methods and techniques used in the field effort and the results of the data analysis. A museum display was discussed and is under development. Additionally, the development of some program of protection for the site is under active consideration. Finally, activities for future work will be outlined and developed.
Continued research in the harbor of Ambudifutatra is considered essential for the protection of this historic wreck site, education of Malagasy students in the field of underwater archaeology, and to expand appreciation of the maritime history of Ste. Marie, in particular, and Madagascar in general. For additional information visit the project Web site at serapisproject.org, or contact the director at email@example.com.
Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia/México (INAH), Subdirectora de Arqueología Subacuática (SAS) was actively engaged in two major projects in 2003:
1630-1631 New Spain's Fleet Research Project and Inventory of Submerged Cultural Resources in the Gulf of Mexico: Two parallel field sessions were held in November-December 2003 in the Gulf of Mexico and Campeche coast. These included NAS courses, an exhibit, and lectures. The SAS applied for and received financial support from the Oceanographic International Committee, within the frame of a Cooperation Agreement between Mexico, Spain, and UNESCO for the 2004 field season.
Project director Pilar Luna, together with ethnohistorian Flor Trejo, received and revised the galley proofs for the book Vicisitudes y Naufragios: la Flota de la Nueva España de 1630-1631, which will be published by INAH in 2004. In adition, there are discussions with the editor of Lunwerg Printing House about the possibility of publishing an art book based on the INAH publication. Project research has also resulted in a thesis by Vera Moya on a 16th-century site discovered within the inventory area.
Proyecto Atlas Arqueológico Subacuático para el Registro, Estudio y Protección de los Cenotes en la Península de Yucatán: In Feburary 2003, additional research and sample collection was undertaken at Naharon Cave to gather extra information and material on the skeleton recovered in 2002. Samples are being studied at several laboratories in Mexico and the USA. It appears that these remains are of the earliest inhabitants of Mexico.
In May, a presentation on the project entitled "Hallazgos recientes en cuevas prehistóricas sumergidas en Quintana Roo " was given by Carmen Rojas and Arturo González, as part of a course at the National School of Anthropology and History.
The article "Peopling of the New World: A Late Pleistocene Human Skeleton from the Underwater Cave of Naharon, Quintana Roo, Mexico," authored by the research team of Pilar Luna, Arturo González, Carmen Rojas, Octavio del Río, Alejandro Terrazas, Debra George, Felisa Sánchez, Karen Selsor, David Glenn Smith, and R. E. Taylor was reviewed for publication. Two additional field sessions in September and October 2004 are planned.
Bateaux Below, Inc.: Seventy-five years ago, the nation's most popular newspaper, the New York Times, described the Lake George motorboat mishap as a "blazing launch" that sank less than 10 minutes after catching fire. In mid-2004, Bateaux Below, Inc. announced the shipwreck discovery and identification of the tour boat Miss Lake George. The 35-ft. wooden watercraft plied the waters of the 32-mi.-long lake during the latter years of the Roaring Twenties. Then, on 21 July 1929, the vessel burst into flames about 20 minutes into its cruise and sank. The fire was reportedly caused by "a short circuit and a backfire of its motor."
Fortunately, disaster was averted. The 10 passengers and vessel's pilot were rescued by 2 boats. The pilot battled the conflagration with a fire extinguisher while passengers donned life preservers and jumped into the water. One passenger, an unidentified woman, had to be forced into the water by the pilot. There were no major injuries, but some passengers lost clothing and small amounts of money. Miss Lake George had been in service on the lake for two seasons.
The shipwreck was found in deep water on 17 May 2002, during a side scan sonar survey conducted by Bateaux Below. The underwater archaeology group used a Klein 2000 side scan sonar integrated with GPS and navigation software to locate the historic wreck. Two year later, in May 2004, Bateaux Below used a Klein 3000 side scan sonar to image the shipwreck. The sonar operations were part of an ongoing multiyear project to locate all the lake's shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources. The fieldwork was supported by small grants from the Fund for Lake George, Inc.
Bateaux Below divers measured the 35-ft.-long shipwreck and observed that its sinking was due to a catastrophic fire. The wreck was classified as a watercraft built by the Albany Boat Corporation run by John L. Hacker and Leon L. Tripp. The company constructed wooden runabouts and cruisers, including the presidential yacht of Woodrow Wilson, until closing its factory in 1932.
Following the May 2002 discovery of the shipwreck an archival search was conducted to identify the vessel. It was not, however, until early 2004 that the exhaustive research finally paid off and the shipwreck was identified.
During dive inspections of the site, the archaeological team noted that approximately 70% of the hull structure had been burned away. The only parts of the vessel that remain are the cutwater, engine, deck, and transom aft of the passenger seats, the starboard gunwale, part of the port gunwale, and some of the lower hull structure. Once the blaze burned away most of the hull the weight of the engine sank the boat.
One local newspaper reported the Miss Lake George was equipped with a 200-h.p. Hallstock motor. The engine was actually a Hall-Scott engine manufactured by two Californians, Elbert J. Hall and Bert C. Scott. Following visual examinations of the shipwreck, it was determined the wooden runabout did have a Hall-Scott engine with six cylinders, an overhead camshaft, and updraft carburetor. During this era it was common for boats with updraft carburetors to leak gas fumes into the bilge which could be ignited by a short circuit or backfire of the engine.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): During 2003 the Maritime Heritage Program (MHP), an initiative of NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program, received its first independent funding and offices. The MHP coordinates maritime heritage activities throughout the National Marine Sanctuary System and provides technical assistance to Sanctuary and other NOAA offices on maritime issues and activities. The focal point for the MHP will be the new Maritime Archaeology Center (MAC), being built on the grounds of The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA. The MAC, to be occupied by fall 2004, will house the staffs of the MHP and the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, providing a focal point for the Maritime Heritage Program.
The MHP has assisted with numerous projects, including recovery of the Monitor's gun turret; identification and mapping of Queen of Nassau, a former Canadian Navy vessel sunk in the Florida Keys NMS; identification and mapping of the passenger steamer SS Portland and other shipwrecks in Stellwagen Bank NMS; discovery of the USS Saginaw and other shipwrecks in the Northwest HI; mapping of a Japanese midget submarine at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii; a search for the U.S. Navy's first submarine, Alligator; and the development of a maritime heritage resource database.
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary: NOAA archaeologists, assisted by staff and volunteers from The Mariners' Museum, completed excavation of Monitor's famous armored gun turret. The turret was recovered in 2002 and transported to the museum, where months of work were required to remove soft sediments, coal and more than 400 artifacts. Monitor's 150-ton turret was the world's first such gun platform, capable of rotating on a central axle and training its guns quickly in any direction. Of all Monitor's characteristic features, its gun turret is the most effective and enduring. Monitor's two 11-in. Dahlgren guns and their unique carriages are still in the turret, cemented in place by more than a century of corrosion. Divers also found the remains of two sailors in the turret. A team of forensic scientists is examining the remains and in 2004 NOAA and the U.S. Navy will begin a determined effort to identify these men and pay final respects.
Recovery of the turret was highlighted in the United Kingdom in a one-hour BBC-TV documentary entitled, "The Monitor's Final Mission." A revised version of the documentary is expected to air on The Learning Channel in 2004, highlighting the recovery work accomplished by NOAA and its principal partners, which include the U.S. Navy, The Mariners' Museum, the National Undersea Research Program and several universities.
The Monitor Sanctuary led a four-week expedition to the site in July, 2003, documenting changes that have taken place since joint NOAA and U.S. Navy recovery operations began in 1998. Despite bad weather, divers were able to map the stern of the wreck and take a series of high-resolution photographs. Sanctuary staff used the photographs to compile the first ever photomosaics of the stern, both sides and lower hull of the historic ship. This accomplishment was especially significant because previous attempts at such detailed documentation have been thwarted by weather and equipment problems. The photomosaics, along with other measurements and imagery from the site, will provide NOAA with a comprehensive site description, so scientists can properly assess the Monitor's condition over time. The sanctuary was fortunate to have assistance on this expedition from the National Undersea Research Center at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and the Maritime Studies Program at East Carolina University, as well as private volunteers.
SHA UNESCO Committee: The UNESCO Committee was established in 1999 to monitor the development and negotiation of the draft Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, and to recommend an official SHA position on relevant issues. With the adoption of the Convention at the 31st session of the UNESCO General Conference in November 2001, the committee's role changed from supporting the Convention's passage to supporting its international implementation and ratification. To do this, the committee has a number of ongoing initiatives.
UNESCO has been holding a series of regional conferences throughout the world in order to assist countries in understanding the UNESCO Convention and to encourage its ratification. This meeting was organized by the regional UNESCO center in Bangkok and funded by the Lord Wilson Heritage Trust in Hong Kong. UNESCO Committee member Mark Staniforth attended the meeting, which also resulted in a series of recommendations, similar to those produced in Jamaica and St. Lucia.
In 2002, the SHA received a formal invitation from the president of ICOMOS's International Committee on Underwater Cultural Heritage (ICUCH), Robert Grenier (also a UNESCO Committee member), to appoint a representative as a non-voting associate member to the ICUCH. Past President Vergil Noble appointed Toni Carrell as SHA's representative to ICUCH, with funding coordinated through the UNESCO Committee. This allowed SHA to be represented at the last two ICUCH meetings, in Madrid, Spain, in November 2002 and Sri Lanka in December 2003 by alternates Matt Russell and Peggy Leshikar-Denton. This has been a great opportunity for SHA to have a voice in an influential international forum directed at preserving our underwater cultural heritage.
In addition to participating in international meetings supporting the UNESCO Convention, the committee is also organizing a letter-writing campaign to encourage ratification and offer support to those nations who voted in favor of the Convention. Letters have been drafted for the SHA President's signature to international representatives congratulating them on voting in favor of the Convention that was adopted in November 2001 by the UNESCO General Assembly, pointing out the highlights of the Convention, and encouraging the use of the Convention's Annex Rules (based on the ICOMOS Charter for the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage) in their programs and activities. The letters also explain that SHA's role and identity are separate from the U.S. government delegation, which actively opposed the Convention's adoption. A specific list of recipients is being drafted.
The UNESCO Committee is also working on the domestic front, developing a program of activities to work with U.S. state agencies to strengthen their underwater archaeology programs, paying particular attention to incorporating the Convention's Annex Rules in state program guidelines, consistency of state legislation with the Convention, and training; and drafting letters to state and federal organizations and agencies. UNESCO Committee members Christopher Amer and Victor Mastone organized a meeting of state underwater archaeologists in September 2002 in South Carolina. The meeting, known as the State Underwater Archaeology Manager's Meeting (SUAMM), included eight participants from Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin. They discussed ways to support creation of a new underwater program in Georgia and advocate for incorporation of the UNESCO Convention Annex (ICOMOS Charter) into the enabling legislation. They also discussed strategies for getting states with existing programs to revise their regulations to be consistent with the Annex. Since that meeting, a state underwater archaeology program has been created in Georgia, which greatly benefited from the efforts of the SUAMM group, and which is a positive leap forward for managing our underwater cultural heritage.
UNESCO Committee members organized two sessions for WAC-5 in Washington D.C. in June 2003. Brian Williams, Vic Mastone, and Chris Amer organized a session entitled, "Implementation of the UNESCO Annex by Regional Managers of Underwater Archaeology Programs." Papers were delivered by UNESCO Committee members Pilar Luna Erreguerena (Mexico); Christopher Amer, Victor Mastone and Matthew A. Russell (United States); Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton (Cayman Islands); and Brian Williams (Northern Ireland). In addition, papers were delivered by representatives from Sri Lanka, Kenya, Switzerland, Cuba, and the United Kingdom. The second session was organized by Anne Giesecke and Patrick O'Keefe, and was entitled: "UNESCO Convention for the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage "Legislative Aspects." Papers were delivered by UNESCO Committee member Anne Giesecke, as well as representatives discussing international law from the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and the United States. In addition, Pilar Luna and Peggy Leshikar-Denton also organized "Underwater and Maritime Archaeology in Latin America and the Caribbean," with 20 papers from 10 countries that touched on local UCH issues related to goals of the UNESCO Convention.
As of February 2004, two nations have ratified the Convention (Bulgaria and Panamá), with more expected in the coming year, until the 20 necessary for implementation is reached. Through a series of initiatives, both domestic and international, the SHA's UNESCO Committee continues to actively promote ratification of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.
United States Federal Register: On 5 February 2004, the USGPO published Public Notice 4614, Protection of Sunken Warships, Military Aircraft and Other Sunken Government Property (vol. 69, no. 24, pp. 5647, 5648). The publication of this notice formalizes the U.S. Policy on sunken government vessels, aircraft, and spacecraft. The full text of this policy is available through: Public Papers of the Presidents: William J. Clinton, vol. III, p. 2956, 19 January 2001, available through http://www.gpo.gov/nara/pubpaps/srchpaps.html; Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, vol. 37, no. 3, pp. 195-196, available through http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/nara003.html.
25-28 October 2004: "Slavery and Emancipation: The Birth of the Caribbean." The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2004 as "The International Year to Commemorate the Struggle against Slavery and its Abolition." To mark this occasion, the widely-acclaimed Turks & Caicos National Museum, Turks & Caicos Islands, British West Indies, is hosting a conference to highlight the research in the Caribbean and to raise issues on slave heritage including historical findings, challenges in research and presentation of slave heritage, and heritage tourism.
The conference will bring national and international researchers, speakers, lecturers, students, and other interested individuals together for the first time to learn more from each other about this subject, its sensitivities, challenges, and significance to the Caribbean region and beyond.
The conference is organized around three broad themes: "Slave History of the Bahamian Archipelago," "Presentation of Slave History," and "Recent Caribbean Research." Open primary discussions will follow each session to encourage debate. Evening events will include a welcome reception and two post-conference tours.
The Turks and Caicos Islands is a chain of over 40 islands, only 8 inhabited, located 575 miles southeast of Miami. The conference will take place at Brayton Hall at the British West Indies Collegiate site in Providenciales. Providenciales enjoys direct and non-stop air service from New York, Miami, Boston, Charlotte, Philadelphia, Toronto, London, Montego Bay, Nassau, Inagua, Puerto Plata, Cap Haitien, and Santiago.
Delegates will be expected to arrive on Sunday, 24 October and leave on the morning of Friday, 29 October. Special discounted hotel rates will apply for these dates only. It is expected that the conference will attract up to 150 national, regional, and international delegates.
Information about the conference is available via a downloadable pdf file at: http://www.tcmuseum.org/pdf/SlaveryLR.pdf (whole pdf). Booking and registration forms only are at: http://www.tcmuseum.org/pdf/SlaveryBookForm.pdf. For more information contact Nigel Sadler, Director, Turks & Caicos National Museum, P.O. Box 188, Front Street, Grand Turk, TCI, BWI; phone: 649-946-2160, 946-2162; fax: 649-946-2160; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
27-30 October 2004: Seventh Maritime Heritage Conference. A dozen maritime heritage and other organizations in the Hampton Roads, VA, region are hosting the next maritime heritage conference in the historic southern seaport of Norfolk. Among them are the Hampton Roads Naval Museum with the battleship USS Wisconsin, The Mariners' Museum, Nauticus, the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, and the Hampton Roads Maritime Association. Upwards of 500 attendees are expected.
The conference will open with a reception on Wednesday, 27 October at Nauticus and aboard the USS Wisconsin. Program sessions will continue through Saturday, 30 October. They will cover the entire spectrum of maritime heritage. More than 140 presentations, panels, and even a town meeting are scheduled in 54 concurrent sessions. Underwater archaeology, education at sea, maritime art, museum management, oral histories, underwater exploration, marine sanctuaries, steel and wooden ship preservation, lighthouses, museum small craft, and life-saving stations are among the areas to be covered.
The following national and international organizations are co-hosts for the event: the American Lighthouse Coordinating Committee, the American Sail Training Association, the Council of American Maritime Museums, the Historic Naval Ships Association, the Museum Small Craft Association, the National Maritime Alliance, the National Maritime Historical Society, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Park Service, the Nautical Research Guild, the Naval Historical Center, the Naval Historical Foundation, the North American Society for Oceanic History, the U.S. Life-Saving Service Heritage Association, and the U.S. Lighthouse Society and the World Ship Trust. The conference will serve as the annual meeting for several of these organizations.
Complete conference information may be found in the Conference section of the Nauticus Web site at www.nauticus.org/MHConference.html. Included are the meeting agenda, program session descriptions, tour descriptions, registration form, and hotel reservation instructions. The printed brochure will be issued in mid-July. Both commercial firms and non-profit organizations are welcomed to exhibit. There will be a book room for publishers and authors. For further information contact Conference Chair Captain Channing M. Zucker by email at email@example.com; phone: 757-499-1044.
The ACUA invites all SHA members to participate in the annual Archaeological Photo Festival Competition to be held at the next SHA Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology. Entries must be received by 1 December 2004. Results of the judging and selected images will be displayed during the next SHA Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology to be held in York, England, 5-9 January 2005. Details, fees, and entry forms can be downloaded from the conference Web site at http://www.york.ac.uk/depts/arch/SHA2005/SHAwelcome.htm. Note that entries from the UK and EU should be sent to Chris Underwood while entries from the Western Hemisphere should go to Toni Carrell. Contact information for Chris and Toni can be found on the entry form