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Frequently Asked Questions

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 don’t know for sure. The cargo lists for that last voyage haven’t 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 Archaeology?

The Institute 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. Who’s 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 don’t 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 one?

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 needs protection?

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 assistance.


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What's New?

new.gif (977 bytes) John Newland Maffitt and the Galveston Blockade | Chasing a Fox new.gif (977 bytes)
new.gif (977 bytes) 2001 Field Crew | In-Kind Contributions  | How Much Coal? new.gif (977 bytes)
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"An Extremely Fast Boat" | The "Mobile Packet" | A "Bold Rascal" | Denbigh Today
Denbigh's Crew | The Erlanger Loan | Birkenhead-Built: An Unrivaled Legacy
Denbigh Primary Source Documents | Galveston During the Civil War | Denbigh, Clwyd, Wales
The U.S. Coast Survey and the Blockade, 1861 | The Ship's Library: Recommended Reading
Running the Blockade Into Galveston: A Personal Narrative | Denbigh Day-by-Day
Denbigh Portrait | Official Number 28,647 | Valve Chest Animation (300kb) | Investors
Links of Interest | Denbigh F.A.Q. | Denbigh's Engines | Denbigh's Boiler
Feathering Sidewheel


April 27-28 Side Scan Survey | May 7-10 Site Mapping
June 16-17 Sub-Bottom Profiling | Site Mapping, July 9-12, 1998 | Dive Trip, October 18-30, 1998
Underwater Images | 1999 Summer Field Season | Denbigh Site Plan
Jerry Williams Speaking Tour | Denbigh Project Benefit Dinner |
Denbigh Artifacts | 2000 Field Crew | 2000 Field Crew Photo Album |
The Denbigh Wreck Site: A Quicktime VR Panaorama
Connecting Rod Recovery, July 22-24, 2000 | Modeling a Shipwreck
Credits & Thank-Yous

J. Barto Arnold et al. 1998-2000, The Denbigh Project, World Wide Web,
Institute of Nautical Archaeology, Texas A&M University, E-mail: (  
Saturday, August 05, 2000 Revision.

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