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History Told from the Depths of Lake Champlain: 1992-1993 Fort Ticonderoga-Mount Independence Submerged Cultural Resource Survey

Scott Arthur McLaughlin
Thesis: May 2000
Chair: Dr. Kevin J. Crisman
Nautical Archaeology Program


Lake Champlain, located between the states of New York and Vermont, ranks among the most historic bodies of fresh water in North America. Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga, found in the southern Champlain Valley, have played a significant role in Euro-American and Native American history throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The looting of submerged artifacts and the deterioration of the Revolutionary War era Great Bridge caissons between these sites motivated the states of Vermont and New York, and the Lake Champlain Basin Program to investigate the region's submerged cultural resources.

In 1992 and 1993, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in Basin Harbor, in Ferrisburg, Vermont, conducted an intensive survey for submerged archaeological resources between Larrabees Point and Chipmans Point, encompassing the waters between Mount Independence and Fort Ticonderoga. The project area lies in the waters of Shoreham and Orwell, Vermont, and Putnam and Ticonderoga, New York. The objectives of this study were to determine the condition and the extent of the underwater archaeological resources to better manage, protect, and preserve these properties. The survey resulted in the identification of archaeological sites dating from the middle of the eighteenth to late twentieth century, representing military campaigns, commercial navigation, domestic refuse, and railroad activities in the region. This thesis presents a detailed summary of the two-year study and examines the history behind the over 1,000 American Revolutionary War era artifacts found and recovered off the northwestern tip of Mount Independence.

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