[an error occurred while processing the directive]

Stern Encrustation

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck site contained a large stern encrustation, which was recovered the from the site and transported to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University. The encrustation is currently undergoing detailed recording, excavation, and conservation. A final analysis of the artifacts associated with the encrustation is not yet complete, but some artifacts, such as a brush, lead sounding weight and wicker basket, have been identified within the concretion.

Recovery of the Stern Encrustation

Due to the depth of the site, at over 4000 feet, the Mardi Gras shipwreck was investigated and many artifacts were retrieved with a Remote Operated Vehicle, or ROV.
In addition to the ROV, Large Artifact Retrieval Tools, or LARTs, were used to raise
large artfacts from the ocean floor.
Concretion in Situ

The stern encrustation was recovered from the extreme southeastern end of the site.  At left, the encrustation is seen in situ with other adjacent artifacts.

ROV

The ROV which was used to investigate the shipwreck site, a Perry Triton XLS-17 provided by Veolia Environmental, is seen at right.  The primary tools for artifact recovery were suction pickers, commonly called "sticky feet."  Also visible in the picture is a bag of styrofoam cups, which were crushed by the water pressure at the deep site.

Concretion in Situ

Large Artifact Retrieval Tools, or LARTs were used to recover the stern encrustation and to backfill the site.  The LARTs were specially designed for use at the Mardi Gras site by Perry Slingsby Engineering in Houston, Texas and were manufactured under the direction of Veolia Environmental Marine Services.

 

 

Concretion in Situ

Large Artifact Retrieval Tools, or LARTs were used to recover the stern encrustation and to backfill the site.  The LARTs were specially designed for use at the Mardi Gras site by Perry Slingsby Engineering in Houston, Texas and were manufactured under the direction of Veolia Environmental Marine Services.


Transport to the Laboratory

The stern encrustation was transported to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University inside a LART.  Once removed from the LART, the encrustation was placed in a specially constructed vat where it will undergo conservation treatment.
Concretion in Situ

Above, the stern encrustation is seen within the LART that was used to transport the encrustation to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University.

ROV

A crane was used to place the large encrustation on the premises of the laboratory, where it could be moved into a specially constructed vat for desalination and conservation.

Concretion in Situ

Here, the open LART reveals its "clamshell" construction, and a forklift is maneuvered into place behind the encrustation. To prevent the encrustation from drying out, it has been wrapped in wet towels and plastic bags.

Concretion in Situ

On its way to the desalination vat, the encrustation is exposed only briefly. Lead shot are visible in the middle of this image, and the large dome-like feature at the top of the encrustation can be seen. This was thought to be a kettle, but further work has revealed that it is a wicker basket which has been preserved by the various iron artifacts it contained.


Conservation Treatment

Conservation of the stern encrustation begins with deslination. A series of static water baths will lower the salt levels within the encrustation and allow conservators to work with the various artifacts contained within the encrustation. In addition to the concretion, mud which was removed from the ocean floor was sifted for smaller artifacts as well.
Concretion in Situ

The size of the encrustation can be seen here, as well as two different caliber shot. Both lead and iron round shot have been identified within the encrustation, as well as bar shot.

ROV

When the encrustation was retrieved from the ocean floor, mud was also brought up from the bottom inside the LART. As this mud may have contained valuable artifacts, it was sifted and examined as well.

Concretion in Situ

The mud is sifted with the aid of a spray of water, and artifacts are retrieved from a mesh screen. .

Concretion in Situ

The stern encrustation is seen from above here, as it is prepared to be lowered into the vat where it will undergo desalination and further treatment.

Concretion in Situ

Once inside the vat, the encrustation is covered with tap water to begin the desalination process.
Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation Texas A&M University

[an error occurred while processing the directive] Last updated: (none)