Underwater News - Summer 2007
Reported by Toni Carrell <email@example.com>
MMAP continued its federal partnerships in 2006 with the completion of a remote sensing survey of waters adjacent to Assateague Island National Seashore, initiated in 2000. More than 31,400 submerged acres were surveyed and a handful of wrecks examined and assessed at the request of the National Park Service which funded the endeavor, covering waters in both Virginia and Maryland. In addition, the state surveyed 7,040 acres of state waters seaward of the park boundary.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was promulgated with the MD Volume 40: Number 2 Summer 2007 Page 29 Department of Natural Resources to use Coastal Zone Management (NOAA) monies to continue the coastal remote sensing survey northward to the Delaware line, an additional 6,400 acres. This project will be initiated in spring 2007.
Continuing partnerships include managing the U-1105 Historic Shipwreck Preserve, which is carried out through MOUs with the Naval Historical Center and St. Mary’s County, and with monitoring and buoy deployment/retrieval being handled by the Institute for Maritime History. Another continuing activity is serving as the SHPO representative to Homeland Security/USCG with all the other state and federal members as per the Programmatic Agreement signed by the NCSHPO in 1999 for emergency response to pollution and hazmat spills in Region III of the Eastern Seaboard. This group is working on updating the Area Emergency Contingency Plan and also creating a major maritime training exercise called Nautical Shield 07 for next September.
Finally, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers— Georgia was seeking a home with another federal agency for a side scan sonar it was retiring and the National Park Service staff at Ft. McHenry National Monument and Historic Shrine agreed to accept it and then deposited it with the Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program to serve as backup equipment but also in order to make it available to students or nonprofit organizations undertaking research in this area.
The Maryland SHPO underwent some reorganization during 2006, adjusting to a transfer to the Department of Planning from the Department of Housing and Community Development and, more recently, the Office of Archaeology was dissolved and its members integrated into other areas of the SHPO. One member of the maritime program staff was reassigned and another left the SHPO and moved to another state. Fortunately, this happened after the completion of fieldwork and although it has made compliance assessment more onerous, it has not been as difficult as if the timing had been different. One position has just received approval for filling at a higher salary. The other position will have to be recouped in the future.
The program is currently providing oversight to two noncapital grants. One is to a doctoral student at FSU through the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum to locate and study the distribution of shipyards over two counties. This builds on a previous master’s thesis from the College of William and Mary which examined comparable data for two counties adjacent to those being studied at present. The State Underwater Archaeologist sits, or sat, on these committees. The second grant is to the Institute for Maritime History which is undertaking a survey of the lower Potomac River and assisting in the development of a searchable GIS shipwreck database. The latter was constructed as part of a senior thesis largely by a student now pursuing a master’s degreee at Texas A&M University. These projects were presented at the Mid-Atlantic Archaeological Conference (MAAC) in March. Another student is continuing work on digitizing files for the database. NOAA also contributed a large amount of survey data from its hydrographic survey of Chesapeake Bay.
Budgetary constraints limited conference participation and attendance to two, the SHA meetings in Sacramento and the MAAC in Virginia Beach. Publications this year were limited to gray literature reports.
The National Marine Sanctuary Program released its first-ever status report evaluating the health of the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary, home to one of the richest and most productive marine ecosystems in the nation. This report presents an initial summary of the pressures and trends affecting sanctuary resources. The completion of the condition report is the first step in the sanctuary program’s efforts to compile similar evaluations of every site in the National Marine Sanctuary System with several more reports slated for completion in 2007.
The condition report identified the principal threat to maritime archaeological resources in the sanctuary as contact by bottom-fishing gear. An additional concern regarding these historical sites is the fact that once damaged, there is no potential for recovery, as there is for water, habitat, and living resources. The new management plan for Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is scheduled for release in the summer of 2007 and will recommend a number of management actions that will address these concerns.
Summary of the condition report’s status and trends pertaining to the current state of the sanctuary’s maritime archaeological resources is as follows: (excerpt from http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/state.html): (1) The integrity of the sanctuary’s maritime archaeological resources is fair, though there is evidence of prior and continuing damage caused primarily by commercial fishing gear on both shallow and deep wrecks; (2) Few shipwrecks have the potential to leak substantial amounts of toxic materials and no evidence of new risks (e.g., hull deterioration) is apparent; and (3) Both commercial and recreational fishing activities are degrading maritime archaeological resources. The most destructive activities are trawling and dredging, which permanently impact the integrity and archaeological value of the resource.
A copy of the entire report is available at: http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/ and the condition report press release available at: http://stellwagen.noaa.gov/news/newsreleases/20070419_CR.html. For more information contact Deborah Marx at Deborah.Marx@noaa.gov.
Dr. Thorne Compton, Senior Associate Dean for the College of Arts and Science at the University of South Carolina, continues as SCIAA’s Interim Director pending the hiring of a new director. Plans continue for SCIAA’s move to a new facility. Renovations to an existing 38,000 square ft. facility are slated to commence in 2007, with the staff moving in later in the year. The state’s archaeological collections, which SCIAA curates, currently occupy more than 5,000 square feet. Moving them to the new facility will more than triple the space available for them and place them in compliance with 36 CFR 79 standards. Additionally, the division has been working collegially with the university’s Belle Baruch Marine Institute and the Department of Geology to maintain two of their Acoustic Doppler Current Profilers (ADCP) deployed off our coast as part of the South Carolina Nearshore Monitoring System.
In November 2006, Ms. Lora Holland joined the Maritime Research Division as the fourth manager of the Sport Diver Archaeology Management Program in the division’s Charleston office. Lora came to SCIAA out of The University of West Florida’s Maritime Archaeology Program via the Warren Lasch Conservation Facility, where she interned in 2006. Like her predecessor, Lora plans to concentrate on the following aspects of the program:
On a beautiful sunny day in November 2006, MRD staff removed four mooring buoys from the trail’s historic sites for the season and assessed the condition of the sites on the heritage trail. During the installation of the buoys in May, we had decided not to install the fifth buoy on the 1705 ferry landing/shipwreck site in deference to a family of alligators who occupied the bank adjacent to the site. The infrastructure of buoys, mooring blocks, and trail lines that were replaced in spring 2005 showed definite signs of needing maintenance, and some ships’ timbers on three sites need to be reaffixed to the hulls. This work will be completed before reopening the trail next spring.
The MRD is busily transforming their Web page, first posted in 1999, to better reflect the division’s diverse management and research interests. We intend to launch the revised site early next year. Major themes of the Web page include current and past research projects, the sport diver archaeological management program, special projects, and state legislation affecting submerged cultural resources. Rich in content, the Web site will include links to MRD research reports, newsletter articles, and slideshows. We hope the information presented will serve to inform Web site visitors about the diverse maritime archaeological legacy in South Carolina waters.
Work continued in 2006 in Port Royal Sound to ascertain the identity of several magnetic and acoustic anomalies there. Using a sub-bottom profiler provided by the USC Marine Geology Department, the MRD attempted to locate the remains of the American Civil War Army gunboat, USS George Washington, sunk by Confederate artillery in 1863. Earlier magnetic survey of the wreck site area, determined by contemporary correspondence and nautical charts, generated a surprising number of likely magnetic anomalies for George Washington. Deployment of the sub-bottom profiler was intended to determine those anomalies showing potential as the remains of the gunboat. Two large sub-bottom reflections, over 100 ft. (30.5 m) in length, along with corresponding magnetic contours, indicated two potential locations for the wreck. Side scan sonar, along with visual reconnaissance of the shoreline during low tide, of the project area did not reveal any protruding structure from the bottom. Future fieldwork, including hydroprobing and limited excavation if warranted, will hopefully reveal one of these deflections to be the final resting place of George Washington.
Another aspect of the Port Royal Sound Survey centers on investigating the archaeological components related to the Station Creek naval repair facility operating during the American Civil War. Two ex-whalers intended for the Stone Fleets off Charleston Harbor were diverted for use as floating machine shops to repair vessels associated with the South Atlantic Blockading Squadron. Naval correspondence from the time period indicated that both of the vessels were abandoned in the creek near the end of the war. Repair facilities were then removed to a small adjacent island. Remote sensing operations of the area in the early 2000s detected a number of acoustic and magnetic anomalies. Ground-truthing revealed the presence of modern debris, along with some items associated with the repair facility, including remains of one of the exwhalers. In response to a compliance issue to permit a dock in the area in 2005, the MRD reviewed the magnetic and acoustic data, and noted a potential sonar anomaly that bore a resemblance to ballast stones. Believing we had found the elusive second wreck, we ground-truthed the anomaly, and found instead an uneven terraced bottom with a number of oyster clumps. To try and find the final resting spot of the second vessel this past year, we widened and more fully explored the area with sonar. Unfortunately, sonar failed to reveal the presence of the second shipwreck. Future fieldwork in the area will include additional groundtruthing of magnetic anomalies to ascertain their association with the repair facility, as well as hoping to locate the remains of the other floating machine shop.
Working with funding from the South Carolina Archaeological Research Trust, in 2006 the MRD continued the remote sensing survey to locate the lost Capitana. The vessel, described contemporaneously by the Spanish historian Gonzalo Fernandez de Oviedo y Valdes as a nao, possibly named Chorruca, is believed to have wrecked off Winyah Bay, SC in 1526 during a failed attempt by the Spanish to establish the first European settlement in North America. The MRD is working in collaboration with Drs. Scott Harris and Eric Wright, coastal geologists from the Department of Marine Science at Coastal Carolina University, who are reconstructing the 1526 shoreline and entrance to the bay to help guide the placement of survey priority areas. The 2006 fieldwork focused on a region of historic shoals guarding the pre-19th-century channel into the bay. During August, MRD staff surveyed approximately 27.25 square km (10.5 square mi.) of the estimated 104 square km (40 square mi.) of priority areas encompassing the approaches to the bay and within Winyah Bay proper. Additionally, this year the MRD ground-truthed and identified the sources of six of the most promising magnetic anomalies offshore and six sites within the bay. Unfortunately, nothing of a 16th-century vintage appeared in the test excavation holes. Finds included two probable 19th- or early-20th-century steamships, buried unidentified iron objects, mooring blocks, an iron box-like object, a 6 ft. long admiralty-type anchor with a broken shank and ring missing (which probably explains why it was buried in the seafloor rather that still on a vessel), a length of tow cable, and a towing bitt, which projected from the sandy seafloor like a fire hydrant. The project was supported in part by numerous volunteers who provided services from diving and logistics to dinners at a local seafood restaurant, provided by the restaurant owner, and no-cost use of a banner plane and pilot to fly aerial photography of the survey area. Additionally, Richard Lawrence and Caroline Gillman-Bryan (Julep) from the North Carolina Underwater Archaeology Unit joined us for part of the survey. Funding has just been secured for a 2007 field season to continue our work in the high-probability areas.
2006 was a great year for the Program in Maritime Archaeology at Flinders University. Eleven students have completed and submitted Master of Maritime Archaeology (MMA) theses during the year and overall the program has grown considerably. Jennifer McKinnon from Florida started work in January 2006 as the new lecturer in Maritime Archaeology and in March Jason Raupp took up a part-time position (three days a week) as the Maritime Technical Officer. Dr. Susan Briggs continued on a 0.5 contract until June when she left to take up a position with the NSW Heritage Office as a Graduate Heritage Officer. Ph.D. student Claire Dappert started on a 0.2 Lecturer A contract in July tutoring and teaching both in the graduate program in maritime archaeology and more generally for the Department of Archaeology.
Associate Professor Mark Staniforth attended the 2006 SHA Conference as well as the ACUA and SHA board meetings in Sacramento in January 2006 and he also attended the SHA mid-year meeting in Washington DC in June. At the SHA conference he was the co-chair with Amanda Volume 40: Number 2 Summer 2007 Page 31 Evans of a symposium titled “At the Edge of the Known World: Vernacular Boats and Ships as Technological Adaptations to New Environments” where he presented a joint paper (with Rick Bullers) titled “Nineteenth Century Australian Wooden Shipbuilding.”
The 2006 Maritime Archaeology field school was held at Mount Dutton Bay, near Coffin Bay on the Eyre Peninsula of South Australia between 1 and 14 February 2006. Students examined the historic jetty at Mount Dutton Bay which is unique in that it is the only known jetty to have been constructed on a private pastoral lease in South Australia. The jetty was used to ship the wool clip to Port Adelaide or direct to markets in the United Kingdom. Participants in the field school also surveyed the Caprice, an oyster-cutter dredge that was used to harvest native oysters from the surrounding bays and sank at its moorings near the end of the jetty.
Regular master classes were held on every second Friday during the year and in addition to SCUBA diving included visits to the various archival repositories (Archive Day) and a visit to the Swamp (aka the Garden Island ships’ graveyard). The latest innovation for 2007 will be student fieldwork practicums (for credit) offered in association with organizations and government agencies including the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife Service, Heritage Victoria, and the Lighthouse Archaeology Maritime Program (LAMP) in St. Augustine, Florida.
Undergraduate teaching in maritime archaeology continued in 2006 with 16 undergraduate students enrolling and completing ARCH 3005 Underwater and Coastal Archaeology in semester 2 of 2006. In addition, Andrea Smith (supervised by Associate Professor Mark Staniforth) completed her Honors (4th year) thesis in July 2006 titled “The Maritime Cultural Landscape of Kangaroo Island: a case study of Kingscote and West Bay.”
Rick Bullers won the inaugural Maritime Archaeology Staff Prize for 2005 ($250) for his Master of Maritime Archaeology thesis titled “Quality of Construction of Australian-built, Colonial-Period Wooden Sailing Vessels: Case Studies Of Vessels Lost In South Australia And Tasmania.” Subsequently Rick has been awarded an Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarship to undertake a Ph.D. within the Australian Shipbuilding Project and has started fieldwork with the support of Heritage Victoria on Australian-built shipwrecks in Port Phillip Bay. The other new Ph.D. student in 2006 is Claire Dappert who earned her master’s degree from East Carolina University and has been awarded an Endeavour International Postgraduate Research Scholarship (Endeavour IPRS) to undertake research on “US Shipbuilding Activities in the Maritime Cultural Landscape of Australia.” Claire has started her fieldwork with survey work on Kangaroo Island where the Independence was built by American sealers in 1803 and she will also conduct survey work on Cape Barren Island in early December 2006.
The Department of Archaeology is excited to announce the launch of the new Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Monograph Series (MAMS). Previously, the department published the Maritime Archaeology Monographs and Reports Series (MAMARS) as a way to offer research conducted by students to a broader audience and this is still MAMS goal. MAMS will reprint MAMARS issues 1-7 in a new format with a higher level of editing, and these will be available for sale in early 2007. The three newest publications by Rick Bullers, Kylli Firth, and David Nutley will be available in December 2006. Look for several new MAMS in 2007, including Debra Shefi’s “The Development of Cutters in Relation to the South Australian Oyster Industry: An Amalgamation of two Parallel Developing Industries.”
The NAS has charitable status and is a company limited by guarantee. Its business is conducted through an executive committee which is supported by subcommittees for management, publication, and outreach, each with terms of reference defining the subcommittee’s particular responsibilities. The society’s constitution is set out in the Memorandum of Association and Articles of Association, and a Statement of Principles defines the society’s values regarding archaeological and heritage practice. The society has explicit policies on education, data protection, and health and safety. Its offices and staff are housed within Fort Cumberland, Portsmouth, UK.
Membership: The society’s membership remains stable at around 600, with about a third of the membership located outside the UK. Under a new system which allows for a degree of semiautonomy, two regions have been established in Scotland and in the North East of England. The main aims of the regionalization of the society are to better meet the needs of local grant-aiding bodies and to generate more regional activity.
NAS Scotland, supported by Historic Scotland, carried out two research-driven projects in Scotland; in North Uist, featuring an unnamed moderately sized wooden sailing vessel; and at Unst in Shetland, which also involved members of DEGUWA recoding a fishtrap, likely to be of Norse/ Celtic origin. NAS Scotland also supported the University of Southampton in the ongoing recording of collection of ethnic craft, A World of Boats exhibition, located in Eyemouth.
NAS NE continued to offer NAS training courses and carried out a second season of research on the Saltburn Rutways. A Heritage Lottery-funded, Young Roots project entitled “Dig, Dive and Discover” in conjunction with Hartlepool Divers, Hartlepool’s Library Service, and Hartlepool Port- Cities, introduced 14 cadets to diving and maritime archaeology and included field work on the Middleton Sands Wreck.
In September NAS NE was awarded an English Heritage grant to establish the North East of England Maritime Archaeology Research Archive. The regional group also received an award under NAS’ Joan Du Plat Taylor awards scheme. Activities in Wales supported by CADW are managed directly by the society’s staff in Portsmouth and included a number of presentations and training courses.
The NAS received support from the following organizations: English Heritage; CADW (Wales Heritage Agency); Historic Scotland; British Sub Aqua Club Jubilee Trust; PADI Project Aware; and Crown Estates. Additional support is also received through contributions from individuals and organizations.
The NAS continues to provide editorial services for the peer-reviewed International Journal of Nautical Archaeology, currently published twice a year by Blackwell. The society’s quarterly newsletter Nautical Archaeology is distributed to all members, either in hard copy or electronically, and is also made available at public events. The NAS has agreed with Blackwell to produce the second edition of the NAS’ Handbook of Underwater Archaeology, which should be available in 2007.
On behalf of the Joint Nautical Archaeology Policy Committee, the society published the proceedings of the Burlington House Seminar, a seminar aimed at discussing and raising awareness of the UNESCO Convention. Robert Grenier of ICUCH presented the case for the convention. The resultant Burlington House Declaration was presented to the government seeking a re-evaluation of its current decision not to ratify the convention.
The NAS is planning a series of publications covering archaeological research undertaken by society members. The first will cover the results of the Sound of Mull Archaeological Project, carried out on the west coast of Scotland.
The NAS Web site is also a means of Volume 40: Number 2 Summer 2007 Page 32 reaching out to a wider public, as well as providing information on forthcoming courses, projects, and events.
The NAS continues to provide training courses following a progressive qualification model and offers volunteers a variety of opportunities to participate in archaeology projects. During the year the society laid out an education policy committing itself to equal opportunities, welfare, and quality assurance.
During the year the society formed a Training and Advisory Board consisting of experts drawn from outside the society. The main aims of the board are to ensure that the NAS Training courses deliver a consistent, quality learning experience; that the NAS Training portfolio of qualifications and training courses are relevant to the needs of the sector; that appropriate educational standards are maintained and that best practice from other organizations and sectors is taken into account in the training and education services.
CADW (Wales) and Historic Scotland continue to financially support the society’s training program. Scotland has its own Training Officer, with Wales activities organized from the NAS’ offices in Portsmouth.
The NAS remains committed to working closely with the UK’s recreational diver agencies to ensure that the basic training of every diver includes information relating to the protection of the underwater cultural heritage.
NAS Training continues to be franchised to organizations outside the UK, most notably Parcs Canada and the Australian Institute of Maritime Archaeology. Through this system the society continues to promote international cooperation and aims to establish an international standard for avocational training.
The NAS provides a range of opportunities for volunteers to contribute to research, organized by it and by partner organizations. Since 2004 the society has run a project in collaboration with the National Trust at the Stourhead estate, Wiltshire, England. The project is an innovative research activity in and around the man-made decorative lake. The project also provides the society with a high-profile outreach opportunity. The project is expected to continue until 2008.
An award from the Heritage Lottery Fund will fund a two-year Dive into History project that will consist of training and outreach initiatives and will target a wide range of audiences, including younger and ethnic groups. A number of field schools were completed at Purton and Portishead (SW of England) with a collaborative project with the Hampshire and Wight Trust for Maritime Archaeology taking place in Forton Lake, Gosport, Hampshire, England, grant aided by the Local Heritage Initiative scheme.
Additional projects were organized on the historic submarine Holland V and on the Edderline Crannog in collaboration with Nottingham University. NAS Part I course members carried out a monitoring survey of the Coronation (a Protected Wreck under the Protection of Wrecks Act 1973). NAS organized an international exchange visit to Roskilde Viking ship center, and carried out a UK-wide project to encourage divers to record wrecks in the UK—Wreckmap Britain 2006 (sponsored by BSAC Jubilee Trust, PADI Project Aware, and Crown Estate).
An NAS ‘trade stand’ was present at the Institute of Field Archaeologists (IFA) general conference and the IFA Maritime Affairs Group conference, as well at both the London and Birmingham recreational diving exhibitions to promote Wreckmap Britain as well as the other activities of the society.
Eighth Maritime Heritage Conference. 9- 12 October 2007. The conference sessions will be held jointly at the Maritime Museum of San Diego and the USS Midway/San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum, San Diego, CA. More than 500 attendees are expected. The conference will open on Tuesday 9 October with a welcome reception to be held on the Star of India, flagship of the Maritime Museum of San Diego. Program sessions will continue through Friday 12 October. A total of 76 conference sessions are planned. Most sessions will run for 75 minutes. These will cover the entire range of maritime and naval heritage topics. Sessions will be held concurrently on the USS Midway, the Star of India, and the Berkeley. The conference will conclude with a dinner cruise on San Diego Bay on the evening of Friday 12 October. A formal call for papers was issued in the fall of 2006. For more information please contact Conference Chair Raymond Ashley at 619-234-9153 ext. 104, <firstname.lastname@example.org>.