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.

March 6, 2013

Scorpion Project Update

Over the last year, the agency partners have been trying to secure an additional $500,000 for the excavation of the USS Scorpion shipwreck project.  Unfortunately, we are out of time and not enough funding has been raised to carry out the project.  As a result, the cofferdam will not be constructed and the shipwreck will not be excavated or available for public viewing.

Part of the money set aside for the project will be used for War of 1812 archaeology outreach while the remaining funds will be returned to Maryland's Transportation Enhancement Program.

It is hoped the Patuxent River bottom holds the War of 1812 shipwreck safely until another generation of archaeologists can unlock her mysteries. 


  1. what? I hope this is not a final decision, it really surprised me to learn that Maryland was funding a project like this knowing what I do about the non existing archaeological presence in the Historical City of Baltimore, especially in areas controlled by state,specifically UMBC, etc. This project was one of the best things they ever proposed to do, to stimulate public interest in my opinion... Is there anything that can be done by the public to restore funding?

  2. Thank you for your post, Phil. The funding has not yet been reallocated. Unless a private funder comes through in the next few months, I am afraid we are unable to move forward. The project all began with interest from then MD Sec. of Transportation Porcari, Gov. O'Malley, and Admiral Harvey. They gave the support for us to move forward on the ambitious initiative. We had 5 million allocated for the project, but were unable to secure a final 500k. With that short fall and the timing with the economy, sequestration, etc., the excavation of a War of 1812 shipwreck, although spectacular in its own right, is not a priority. Most of the archaeologists associated with the project are crestfallen. But, we have learned quite a bit and even changed what was previously known about the shipwreck.