In 2010 and 2011, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), the US Navy, and Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) conducted archaeology surveys in the Patuxent River on a War of 1812 shipwreck. This blog documents our underwater archaeology surveys.

July 20, 2011

Decking, Fasteners, and Timbers

As archaeologists, we are always excited to find artifacts and based on the items removed from the wreck 30 years ago, we will not be dissapointed. The value of the artifacts is not monetary, but in the information they contain and what these personal items can tell us about the sailors who fled the flotilla 200 years earlier.

In shipwreck archaeology, it is not only what's on the inside that counts, but what's on the outside. Although we are diving in "black water" with visibility of only a foot or two, it is still possible to make out where ropes once passed and even see and feel a groove that may be a wash board. Although the upper reaches of the wreck have been partially damaged from exposure above the water line decades earlier, some of the decking was quickly buried in the sediment, preserving a freshly milled color. 

Diver Dan's sketch of the upper end of the wreck.

While diving, Dr. Bob Neyland brought up a few old beer cans, including his favorite, Miss Olde Frothingslosh. This beer was marketed by a Pittsburgh brewer in the 1970s.

Yesterday, SHA District 3 Marlboro Shop helped keep us safe by constructing wooden decking across our barge. The barge we rented came with raised plates, hooks, and other tripping hazzards that made walking dangerous. A big THANK YOU goes out to Carlton and Jim for keeping us safe! 

Carlton takes a measurement for the decking.

Jim cuts notches on the beams to fit around the tripping hazzards and feeds them over to Carlton.

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