Underwater News - Spring 2008
Submitted by Toni Carrell <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program has submitted an application to NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration for funds to seek the Cato and the Hawk, two Revolutionary War-era State Navy vessels. The Navy's Patuxent Naval Air Station and the Smithsonian's Environmental Research Center are also partners. I am completing my second year as the Maritime Archaeological Research representative on NOAA's Monitor Sanctuary Advisory Council, chairing the Management Plan Development Group.
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. The Maritime Archaeology Program participated in a major maritime training exercise called Nautical Shield '07 for 3 days in September.
After attending a Veterans Day memorial event at the cemetery, for the 8 sailors from the sinking of the USS Tulip during the Civil War, I was able to raise the issue of its lack of recognition with the Civil War Trails Program. We have initiated the process for having appropriate signage installed to commemorate the event and site. The latter is, in fact, the smallest federal cemetery in the nation.
State Endeavors: The Maryland Maritime Archaeology Program is proud to announce that Dr. Brian Jordan has joined the staff as the Assistant State Underwater Archaeologist. Brian brings a wealth of experience from NOAA and diverse field projects. He will serve as the PI on the Cato and Hawk Project if funding is forthcoming.
This year saw the completion of a remote sensing survey of all state Atlantic waters from the Ocean City Inlet north to the Delaware state line. More than 30 square miles were surveyed (800+ linear miles). This project was funded by the Coastal Zone Management Program of Maryland's Department of Natural Resources with NOAA funds. Another similar project will be undertaken in the upcoming field season but the details have not yet been finalized.
The program provided oversight to two non-capital grants. One, now completed, 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 masters 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, now completed, was to the Institute for Maritime History which undertook survey of a segment of the Potomac River and assisted in the development of a searchable GIS shipwreck database. A student is continuing work on digitizing files for the database. NOAA also contributed a large amount of survey data from its hydrographic survey of the Chesapeake Bay.
Education & Outreach: The Maritime Archaeology program is mandated to present a report for the previous year and a proposal for the current year to the Board of Public Works early each calendar year. The Board is made up of the governor, comptroller and treasurer and this affords an annual opportunity to promote the program directly to the current administration. The presentation is deliberately scheduled to occur immediately before the annual public workshop in archaeology (March) and in advance of Archaeology Month (April).
Participation in several classes of the Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society's very successful 10-week course, "Introduction to Underwater Archaeology", is also an annual event, as is assisting in locating a suitable site for an associated field training session, and participating in the SHPO's Annual Public Workshop in Archaeology, this year I reprised the kids' session; in 2006 it was pictographs and they painted rocks to take home, in 2007 it was Marking Time using the Lakota Winter Count to create their own counts of events significant to them.
The Department of Natural Resources hosted another professional development training program for its approximately 250 police officers and now includes the materials formally in its training academy program. These 3-hour courses are offered regionally at the 6 District Meetings and a 7th is held for any officers who were on duty the day it was offered in their area. The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and the Baltimore County Marine Police have now requested comparable trainings.
Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society (MAHS): MAHS is organized for the purpose of enhancing public awareness and fostering appreciation for the significance of historic shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources. Our mission is to preserve our maritime heritage, and members volunteer to participate in underwater archaeology expeditions around the world. In pursuit of this mission we focus our activities on research, education, and advocacy.
In January 2007, MAHS responded to the request of the State of Maryland to conduct a field investigation of several unidentified hull structures lying in the Wicomico River, Maryland. State site forms were submitted in support of one of the structures and work on the others continued throughout the year.
During the summer and later again in the fall, MAHS volunteers worked with professional researcher Michael Moore in an ongoing study of numerous Civil War- period shipwrecks discovered in the Pamunkey River, Virginia. This is part of a multiyear project including in-depth study of the use of canal boats and barges during the Peninsula Campaign of 1862.
In the fall, MAHS pursued its search for the Lion of Baltimore, a privateer, reportedly sunk by the British ship Menalaus during the War of 1812. Several field expeditions were conducted on a site with unidentified wood-hull remains in the Chesapeake Bay. The fieldwork and archival research for this project are also being conducted in coordination with Maryland State Underwater Archaeologist Susan Langley.
In January, MAHS participated in the SHA conference in Williamsburg, VA. We chaired the session titled "Current Perspectives in Maritime Archaeology" and also presented a research paper on our Pamunkey River Project. In March, MAHS presented at the Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference in Virginia Beach and later that month at the Annual Workshop in Archaeology sponsored by the state of Maryland. Also, during the spring, MAHS conducted its live course titled "Introductory Course in Underwater Archaeology" for the nineteenth consecutive year. The distance-learning version of the course was also distributed during the year to various individuals and organizations throughout the country and around the world. In June MAHS conducted its annual course Field School in Underwater Archaeology on the Regina shipwreck site located off Bradenton Beach, Florida. The class was so popular that we had to run two sessions to accommodate all the students. Throughout the year, MAHS also sponsors a speaker series featuring a variety of presenters discussing a wide array of topics in maritime archaeology at our monthly General Membership Meetings.
Advocacy Projects: MAHS has been integrally involved in a wide range of forums advocating the protection of historic shipwrecks and other submerged cultural resources. In the spring we opposed the commercialization of Atocha artifacts by DelTech College in Delaware and lobbied the Puerto Rico governor to overturn a treasure-hunting bill submitted by the legislature. Presently we are opposing a salvage permit being considered by the state of Florida for an unidentified Spanish shipwreck located off Jupiter Beach, Florida.
Also during 2007, MAHS announced that we joined the international archaeology community in adopting a resolution endorsing the ICOMOS Charter on the Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage (1996) and the Annex to the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage (2001). MAHS believes endorsement is an important strategy in the overall adoption and implementation of these important international initiatives.
The two main projects the National Park Service's Submerged Resources Center (NPS-SRC) continued in 2007 were the USS Arizona Preservation Project and a multiyear study of inundated and emergent historical and prehistoric sites at Lake Mead National Recreation Area. In addition, we participated in 14 projects of varying duration at parks such as Channel Islands NP, Isle Royale NP, and Biscayne NP. Finally, SRC continued the initial phase of a joint NPS/NOAA/UC-Berkeley project in Point Reyes National Seashore to locate and evaluate historical shipwrecks in Drakes Bay.
The NPS-SRC continued to compile a draft report on USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii as part of a multi-year, interdisciplinary project to characterize critical processes affecting Arizona, develop a predictive engineering model to calculate diminishing structural integrity over time, and produce a long-term preservation plan for the battleship including management alternatives. This is an issue that continues to attract the attention of managers and the general public due to the iconic nature of the wreck and the ongoing seepage of oil from the ship's fuel bunkers.
The SRC also continued work on submerged sites in Lake Mead National Recreation Area, including a B-29 Superfortress in 150 ft. of water and industrial sites associated with Hoover Dam construction approximately 120-140 ft. deep. Daniel Lenihan was project director and Dave Conlin was field director.
SRC continued to consult with NPS archaeologists, resource and project managers on removal of the wreck of the ferry Ellis Island from the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island Immigration Museum. Removal of the wreck is a priority for the park prior to rehabilitation of seawall and south-side development at Ellis Island. Conlin is working closely with park and regional personnel, as well as the New York and New Jersey SHPO offices, to develop a documentation plan for wreck removal in 2008.
SRC is also closely involved in planning and reviewing proposed dredging activities in the upper Hudson River adjacent to Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. The upper Hudson River was heavily contaminated with PCBs originating at the General Electric facility in Fort Edwards. Proposed dredging activities will likely have an adverse effect on submerged resources in the river and SRC is working closely with the park, General Electric, and the Environmental Protection Agency to mitigate these impacts.
Finally, SRC continued the preliminary phases of a joint NPS/NOAA/UC-Berkeley project to locate, document and evaluate submerged cultural resources in Drakes Bay, California within Point Reyes National Seashore. Remote sensing in 1997-1998 resulted in location of dozens of buried magnetic anomalies that have not yet been evaluated. The planned project will begin anomaly investigation in a phased approach beginning in 2008. At the same time, Russell began to evaluate museum collections of sixteenth century artifacts from the Spanish Manila galleon San Agustin excavated from terrestrial Coast Miwok sites in the 1940s and 1950s in an ongoing reanalysis of the material.
This year marks the 250th anniversary of "The Sunken Fleet of 1758," an event when the British deliberately sank over 260 of their warships to protect them over the winter from the enemy, the French. Many of the vessels were not recovered in 1759. Since 1987, Bateaux Below, a not-for-profit corporation, has studied shipwrecks from the French & Indian War (1755-1763).
Replica Archaeology: In the first half of 2008, Bateaux Below is working on public outreach programs to commemorate the 250th anniversary of "The Sunken Fleet of 1758." One project is an after-school enrichment program with Maple Ave. Middle School students and teachers (Saratoga Springs, New York). Fifteen students and their Technology class teachers are working with Bateaux Below, the village of Lake George, the New York State Office of General Services, and Pepe Productions on two replica archaeology projects. The first is to build a 1:1 scale 30-ft.-long bateau-class "wreck." The "wreck" will be sunk in 4 ft. of water adjacent to a public walkway near the Lake George Visitor Center and will be a temporary shipwreck preserve for pedestrian viewing. The replica will be part of the waterway's state-administered "Submerged Heritage Preserves," an underwater park for divers created in 1993. The second replica archaeology project is the construction of a 6-ft.-long cross section of the 52 ft. long x 18 ft. wide 1758 Land Tortoise radeau shipwreck. This will be exhibited on land. The replicas will have interpretive signage and an informational brochure. Bateaux Below and Pepe Productions are creating a short video production on the projects to be shown at the visitor center.
Radeau Bookmark: Bateaux Below and Pepe Productions have produced an oversized bookmark of the seven-sided Land Tortoise radeau, a type of floating gun battery. One side depicts the National Historic Landmark shipwreck in plan view and the other side cites its history and the archaeological study of the British warship. The bookmark is funded from the sale of the award-winning DVD documentary "The Lost Radeau: North America's Oldest Intact Warship" www.thelostradeau.com. The bookmark is being distributed to local libraries and schools.
Science/Archaeology/Art Project: Bateaux Below is collaborating with a research scientist and visual artist on a project designed to educate the public about historic preservation efforts of Lake George's 1758 shipwrecks. Using a novel process developed by Albany, New York scientist Sam Bowser and New Zealand artist Claire Beynon, single-celled organisms called testate amoebae, collected from the lake bottom adjacent to 1758 bateau-class shipwrecks, are incubated on substrates imprinted with nano-scale patterns of archaeological drawings of these shipwrecks. The responses of the amoebae to the topology depicted in these archaeological illustrations will be of primary concern, while the artistic interpretation of the science images will link the public to the micro world inhabiting "The Sunken Fleet of 1758."
PROAS was created in 1995 with a focus on: 1) archaeological research and management; 2) technical advisory for legislation; 3) training and outreach; and 4) creating a database of underwater cultural sites.
Archaeological Research and Management: This is the area which so far has been the one with greatest development within PROAS. In 2007 the focus of PROAS has been to conduct fieldwork and related activities regarding the four ongoing archaeological projects within the program. All the sites under study consist of shipwreck remains and are located in Patagonia, southern Argentina. A brief description and update of each of them is provided below:
HMS Swift Project: HMS Swift was a British sloop of war which in March 1770 sank off the coast of what is now Puerto Deseado, Santa Cruz Province, in southern Argentina. The archaeological investigation of the site began in 1998 under the direction of Dolores Elkin and is conducted by the PROAS team of the National Institute of Anthropology (INAPL).
Besides the structural components of the ship itself - of which it is estimated that about 60 percent of the original wooden hull structure is preserved - the archaeological record excavated to date includes a great variety of artifacts made of ceramic, metal, glass, wood, stone and bone, plus several additional organic remains usually associated with clothing, food, and rigging and stowage materials. Additionally, a complete human skeleton was found in 2006 within the excavation zone at the stern, inside the great cabin.
In 2007 the results achieved to date from the different research themes conducted within the Swift project have been published and/or presented in different national and international meetings (see below, conferences and publications)
In November 2007 a new research grant for the HMS Swift project was awarded by the Argentinean National Agency for the Promotion of Science and Technology, and additional funds have been requested from the National Geographic Society. A new excavation field season at the HMS Swift site is planned for February-March 2008.
Hoorn Project: The merchant vessel Hoorn, of the Dutch expedition led by Jacob Le Maire and Willem C. Schouten, was lost by fire along the coast of the Deseado estuary (currently Santa Cruz Province, Argentina) in December 1615.
In 2003 a project was created with the purpose of locating and studying the remains of the vessel. Under the direction of DamiÃ¡n Vainstub and Cristian Murray, from PROAS-Argentina, and Martijn Manders, from the De zoektocht naar de Hoorn Foundation from Holland, several archaeological surveys were conducted in the intertidal zone and adjacent subtidal zone with the aid of metal detectors. A sector with archaeological materials was identified in the intertidal zone, interpreted as a primary deposit related to the fire and destruction of the ship. The materials include ceramic sherds, metallic melted fragments, organic materials, concreted iron fittings, and what seem to be ballast stones.
Additionally, a geophysical survey of the seabed was conducted using side scan sonar and magnetometer, followed by checking these anomalies by divers. A few more artifacts were found, apparently displaced from the wrecksite.
In 2007 a special exhibit on the vessel Hoorn was set up at the Westfries Museum in the city of Hoorn in Holland, and a book was published (see below: conferences and publications)
Valdés Project: The Valdés Project began in 2004 with the goal of assessing, conducting non-intrusive surveys, and providing tourism management guidelines for the shipwrecks of a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Valdés Peninsula, as well as the adjacent coastal city of Puerto Madryn, both located in the province of Chubut.
Around 30 shipwrecks are located within the study area, and six of them have been subject to preliminary survey and recording mainly on the basis of their historical and/or tourist value.
One site, located in the intertidal zone, consists of a section of a wooden hull, probably dating from the mid-19th century. Site plans were done and wood and metal samples were taken with the purpose of assessing their cultural and chronological affiliation.
In 2007 the site was covered with sandbags in order to provide in situ protection, and a small exhibit was set up at the Punta Cuevas Visitor Center, in Puerto Madryn city.
Monte León Project: Monte León is a new national park in Argentina, with 40 km of ocean coastline, located in Santa Cruz Province. Last year the PROAS team was required to conduct a baseline assessment of the maritime heritage of the park's coast, as part of the general management plan of the park. It is worth stating that one of the ships of Magellan-El Cano's voyage of 1519-1522, the nao Santiago, wrecked against the rocky shore in an area of Patagonia, which could be located within what is now Monte Leon National Park.
Two field seasons were conducted in Monte León, the last one in March 2007. Although no evidence of the nao Santiago was found - and for several reasons it is unlikely that it will ever be found - several scattered shipwreck remains were located and documented.
The preliminary interpretation of this material indicates that they consist of a minimum number of two shipwrecks dating from the second half of the 19th century.
Technical Advisory Role for Legislation: On the legislation front, several actions were undertaken in 2007 in relation to the follow-up of the possibility of ratification of the UNESCO UCH convention by Argentina. It should be noted that Argentina's national legislation already provides a blanket protection for all underwater archaeological sites of at least 100 years of age. This is law 25.743 passed in 2003 and regulated in 2004.
The main task was to prepare an extensive report for the Secretary of Culture in an attempt to encourage and provide a rationale for their positive view of the UNESCO convention. A green light from the Secretary of Culture was the first and necessary step towards ratification, followed by the approval by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and finally by the Congress of the Nation.
In the context of a Latin American and Caribbean meeting related to the UNESCO convention that took place in Quito, Ecuador, on 29 and 30 November 2007, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) reported that:
Training and Outreach: In 2007 a proposal was submitted to the Graduate Department of Anthropology of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) to run a doctoral course in 2008 on "Research and Management" related to UCH. The proposal received preliminary approval. Also two special lectures on maritime archaeology have been given both in UBA as well as the University of La Plata.
In 2007 another undergraduate thesis at UBA has been completed and Monica Grosso from the PROAS team has enrolled in the doctoral program of UBA, both of them in relation to maritime and underwater archaeology topics.
At present four archaeology students - all of them divers with different degree of expertise - are involved in our program in the form of office-lab-field training internships.
General public and sport divers: Activities directed at sport divers include courses aimed at raising awareness relating to the importance and fragility of the underwater cultural heritage and to providing non-intrusive skills training. In 2007 four courses were run following the general scheme of the UK-based Nautical Archaeology Society (NAS) Training Programme, but they were adapted to the specific requirements of Argentina and the South American region in general. Through these means, awareness about the need for research and protection of our maritime and underwater heritage is gradually generated.
Database of Underwater Sites: A permanent task conducted by PROAS consists of gathering information on shipwrecks and other underwater sites. By the end of 2007 the record consisted of more than 1200 shipwrecks for the Río de la Plata and around 700 for the South Atlantic and the southernmost part of the continent. The information included in the register is based on data obtained from various sources, although in most cases there are no records about the precise location of the shipwrecks or about the possibility of their remains having survived to date.
It is also worth stating that such register is developed from a regional and historical perspective, including shipwrecks located both in areas which are currently under the jurisdiction of Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, or in dispute with the United Kingdom.
The shipwreck and underwater sites database will constitute an essential tool for future guidelines regarding the management of underwater cultural heritage on a national scale.
The annual NASOH conference with the Council of American Maritime Museums conference will be hosted by the University of West Florida in historic Pensacola, Florida in May 2008. The conference theme is: "Defining the Maritime Edge: The History and Archaeology on Inland Environments, Coastal Encounters, and Blue Water Connections." For more information about the conference please visit: www.nasoh.org/conference.htm.
WAC-6 will be held at the spacious campus of University College Dublin, Ireland. Founded in 1986, WAC encourages open dialogue among all people genuinely concerned about the past, including scholars from under represented parts of the world, First Nations people, and descendent communities whose pasts are told by archaeologists. One of WAC's primary functions is to hold an international congress every four to five years to offer discussion of new archaeological research as well as archaeological policy, practice and politics. Previous congresses were held in the United States, South Africa, India, Venezuela, and England.