Shelburne Steamboat Graveyard

In June 2014 a team of nine researchers from Texas A&M University (TAMU) traveled north to Lake Champlain to study four early steamboat hulls sunk near Shelburne Point, Vermont.  Co-directed by Dr. Kevin Crisman and Carolyn Kennedy, the three week long project in Shelburne Shipyard had two principal objectives: to document the dimensions and principal construction features of each hull, and to determine, if possible, each wreck’s identity.  

The four wrecks were identified as Winooski (1832), Burlington (1837), Whitehall (1838), and A. Williams (1870).  In light of the small size of the crew, the short length of the field season, the number of wrecks present, and their relative size, this was definitely an ambitious project.   Despite these limitations, site plans were drawn up for each of the four wrecks, and a vast amount of data was produced. The work was jointly sponsored by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA), TAMU’s Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, and the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). 

The archaeological objectives of the 2015 project are to document and assess the remains of Winooski, a steamboat sunk in approximately 10 feet (3.04 m) of water adjacent to the Shelburne Shipyard on the Vermont shore of Lake Champlain. This wreck is the earliest of the four examined in 2014, and exemplifies the early nineteenth-century steamboat hull.


Mardi Gras Project

In May 2007, the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, in cooperation with the Oceanography Department at Texas A&M University and the Mineral Management Servie, conducted a partial excavation on a deep water shipwreck 4016 feet deep in the Gulf of Mexico. See details and on-going conservation webcam here.


Port Royal Project

From 1981 through 1990, Dr. Donny Hamilton excavated the 17th-century sunken city of Port Royal, Jamaica.  The following project reports present some of the conservation procedures used on many of the recovered artifacts.  The reports also illustrate the problems encountered when conserving waterlogged material. For an example, see the report on a wood/iron carpenter's chisel.


La Salle Shipwreck Project

When the Texas Historical Commission arranged for CRL to conserve all of the excavated material from La Salle's 17th-century ship, the Belle  - including the ship herself- we knew it would be a great challenge.  Few, if any, shipwrecks excavated in the United States have contained the quantity and variety of material found on the Belle.  New conservation procedures have been developed for this project, and a new conservation vat was built especially for treating the ship's hull.  This vat is the largest wood conservation facility in the United States.

The following research reports illustrate some of the problems we have encounterd while conserving the Belle and her hold.  More will be added as work progresses.

New conservation methods: silicone oil and organic conservation

Composite wood/iron artifacts: pole arms and partisans

Conservation of the skeleton

Conservation of a wooden chest

Modeling La Belle.

A big thanks to all our sponsors.

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