1. What was Denbigh?
Was she a Confederate warship?
No. Like most steamships running the blockade, Denbigh
was a British merchant ship a civilian vessel. Most of her crew was probably
British, although one of her captains, A. M. Godfrey, was an
American, originally from Maine. Her original British Board of Trade registry
appears never to have been altered or modified, even after she left the U.K. for good. She
flew the British Red Ensign throughout her career. Blockade runners
were unarmed merchant ships engaged in a very high-risk commercial gamble. It was a
business, although a quasi-legal one.
2. What was Denbigh carrying when she was lost?
We dont know for sure. The cargo lists for that last
voyage havent been found, and most of the cargo was either destroyed in the fire or
salvaged later. But cargo manifests from earlier voyages include a wide range of items,
from arms and ammunition to raw materials to office supplies.
3. Who owns Denbigh now?
The Denbigh wreck site is a protected
archaeological site under Texas law. It is officially designated 41GV143. (41 is
Texas, GV is Galveston County, and 143 is the number of the site within the
county.) In effect, Denbigh now belongs to all Texans. The Denbigh Project
team is operating under a permit from the Texas
Historical Commission, which oversees and approves all archaeological work on state
land, which includes navigable waterways.
4. Who or what is the Institute of Nautical
of Nautical Archaeology (INA) is a nonprofit scientific and educational organization
that supports archaeological work around the world. INA is based on the campus of Texas
A&M University in College Station, but has a major research facility at Bodrum, Turkey
and conducts field projects in Europe, the Middle East and the Americas.
5. What will happen to the artifacts
recovered from the ship?
The artifacts recovered from Denbigh belong to the
State of Texas, and will be preserved for future generations of students, researchers and
the public. Artifacts recovered will either be taken to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas
A&M University in College Station, or placed in a smaller conservation lab at Texas A&M University at Galveston where they
can be cleaned and preserved. Ultimately they will be deposited in a museum where, the Denbigh
team hopes, they will serve as dramatic reminders of the way maritime technology was
changing in the 1860s.
6. How long will this work go on?
The Denbigh Project team plans to complete at least
one, and possibly two, more summers of work on this site. Working underwater is much
slower than on land, and consequently it takes much more time to excavate an underwater
site than one of equivalent size on land.
7. Whos paying for this work? Does this project
use public funds?
The Denbigh Project is funded entirely by donations
from individuals, corporations and foundations.
8. Can I contribute to the Denbigh Project?
Yes. Underwater archaeology is also expensive; land
archaeologists generally dont need SCUBA gear and motorboats to get to and from
work. Contributions can be made through the Institute of Nautical Archaeology and should
be specifically designated for the Denbigh Project.
9. Can I personally get involved in projects like this
Definitely yes! Most field projects need individuals with
a wide range of skills and experiences. Prior experience in archaeology and being a diver
are not necessarily required; what is required is the willingness to work hard and
be part of the team.
10. What do I do if I know of an historic wreck that
Most states have laws that protect historic
shipwrecks, but they vary a lot in their details. In Texas, you should contact the Texas Historical Commission at (512) 462-1271 for