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 15, 2011

The Smoking Barrel Stave?

Although we did not remove much overburden across the wreck today, we did map in some important points, including the northern end of the wreck site. In addition, we maneuvered the heavy 12 ft. long shoring into place that should cover part of the hold. Since the shoring is so heavy, we used plastic lift bags filled with air to help position the box over the exact spot.
Troy Nowak, Assistant State Archaeologist, discusses placement of shoring with US Navy underwater archaeologists Brad and George.

While exploring the northern part of the wreck we came upon a curious piece of wood.  It was a barrel stave! It measures 22 in. tall, by 4 in. at the center, and is about an inch thick in the center. Was this part of a powder keg that sunk this vessel? Powder kegs did come in this size of barrel during the War of 1812. Of course, the stave may just be the remains of a food or beverage cask.
 Interior of the stave--note the groves on the ends.
Close up view of wooden cask stave. The exterior and interior are colored black. 

1 comment: