Underwater Archaeology Field School 2013
June 3-14, 2013 on Lake Champlain
A field school experience is a critical component for any student pursuing a career path in nautical archeology. The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum is hosting a rigorous two-week program that offers a mix of both academic instruction and hands-on underwater archaeological research. The diving sessions will teach practical underwater skills using both traditional documentation techniques and cutting-edge technology, while the classroom component will provide students with an opportunity to train in GIS, study CRM practices, and learn about local history and artifact conservation methods.
Lake Champlain, situated between the Green Mountains of Vermont and the Adirondacks in New York, offers a stunningly beautiful setting that is steeped in history. The region played a critical role in the French and Indian War, Revolutionary War, and the War of 1812, and featured a dynamic commercial era with thousands of steamboats, schooners, sloops, and canal boats on its waters. The dramatic heritage of Lake Champlain has resulted in a unique archeological collection of approximately 300 shipwrecks, many of which are in an outstanding state of preservation.
Schedule & Expectations
The days include a combination of classroom work, lecture, discussion, and presentations; and fieldwork components, such as a diving and skills exercises. There may be an occasional field trip and evening lecture and discussion. Our program features two gems on Lake Champlain: the lake-wide underwater state park Lake Champlain Historic Preserve; and LCMM’s own Conservation Lab. The 2013 season focuses on a boat graveyard located off the shores of Burlington, Vermont. These sites include the 1880s schooner Excelsior, several nineteenth century sailing canal baots, a steam launch, and three wooden barges. These wrecks are located in 8 to 15 feet of clear, cold water - the ideal environment to develop underwater documentation skills.
Optional: SOLO Wilderness First Aid Afloat course available the weekend prior to the fieldschool. Contact the Fieldschool Coordinator for more information.
All events are subject to change, due to weather, travel, and other considerations. Most days will run from approximately 9:00am to 5:00pm, with time for breaks and meals. Any changes or modifications to the schedule will be announced in advance.
Journal (25%): Students are required to maintain a personal daily journal that includes the following: classroom or field notes, a reflection on daily activities, and any questions or comments to bring to the discussion.
Nautical Archeology Skills Quiz (25%): Each dive session or field exercise will conclude with a skills quiz to allow students to successfully demonstrate what they have learned.
Reflection Paper (25%): Students will complete a 7-10 page reflection paper on their experiences during the field school (Due July 31, 2012).
Participation (25%): Attendance at all scheduled activities is required.
Suggested Reading List
Underwater Archaeology: The NAS Guide to Principles and Practice (paperback) by the Nautical Archeology Society
Lake Champlain’s Sailing Canal Boats by Arthur B. Cohn
SCUBA Equipment Checklist
Students are expected to provide (LCMM can provide local assistance with equipment rental and sales):
- Mask, fins and snorkel
- Wet suit (7mm) or dry suit including hood and gloves
- Buoyancy compensator
- Regulators which include a pressure gauge
- Timing device
LCMM will provide:
- Scuba cylinders
Tuition & Housing
Tuition for the Lake Champlain Underwater Archaeological Field School is $2,200. Graduate and undergraduate credits may be available for an additional fee; contact us for details.
Camping style housing will be provided, with partial meals included. Students are expected to provide their own personal transportation during the field school. If you have any dietary requirements, concerns about housing, or require any other accommodations, please contact the Field School Coordinator.
Upon acceptance to the program, students will be provided with a list of rules and safety regulations, any violation of which may result in immediate dismissal without a refund.
Students must meet diving, equipment, and medical pre-requisites as outlined in the application in order to participate in this program.
Fill Out the ONLINE APPLICATION
Photos from the 2013 Fieldschool
About the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum and its Staff
The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum was founded in 1986. We are a non-profit museum in Vergennes, Vermont with a mission to study, preserve, and share the rich history and archaeology of Lake Champlain. Starting in an original historic stone schoolhouse, LCMM has grown to more than a dozen buildings, a blacksmith arts center, a shipyard in Burlington, VT, the Research Vessel Baldwin, and three full-scale wooden replica vessels, including the 1862 canal schooner Lois McClure and the Revolutionary War gunboat Philadelphia II.
The LCMM’s archaeological research arm, known as the Maritime Research Institute, provides high-quality underwater cultural resource management services to the public and private sectors. Our team of archaeologists, historians, and conservators have unsurpassed expertise their fields. Since 1986, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has conducted dozens of archaeological studies, ranging from multi-year remote sensing surveys to the Phase III study of individual shipwrecks.
Our research philosophy strives to combine efficient work practices with a desire to leave a legacy of thorough and meaningful scholarship. The resulting work products will be of us to generations of researchers. Recent archaeological projects include a 10-year systematic sonar survey of the bottom of Lake Champlain to map and document previously unknown wooden shipwrecks threatened by zebra mussels; the first-ever archaeological mapping of a submerged battleground (Valcour Bay); and the development of a management plan for the U.S. Navy for Benedict Arnold’s gunboat Spitfire, which the Museum discovered in 1997. Recent conservation projects include the archival repackaging of 12,000 artifacts for the West Point Military Academy; the documentation and conservation of 130 Native American lead effigies and Jesuit rings for the New York State Museum; and the conservation of timbers inadvertently removed from historic Fort Edward during the Hudson River PCB Dredging Project in Fort Edward, New York.
Recent projects include:
- Scanning Sonar survey of the Sloop Island Canal Boat
- Hudson River Superfund Site in Fort Edward, New York for the EPA
- Onondaga Lake Superfund Site in Syracuse, New York for Parsons/Honeywell
- Express Transmission Line in Lake Champlain and the Hudson River for HDR/Transmission Developers International
- Burlington Oil Bollard Survey in Lake Champlain for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (NY District)
- Expert Witness consulting for the State of New York in a shipwreck litigation case in Lake Erie
Read the decision statement (PDF)
- Indian Brook Remote Sensing Survey in Lake George
- HD-3D Imaging of the Gunboat Spitfire in Lake Champlain with Woodshole Oceanographic Institute
- Zebra Mussel Research with the University of Vermont and the National Park Service in Lake Champlain
Maritime Research Institute Staff
Adam Kane, Co-Executive Director
Adam Kane has been at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum since 1999. He has worked on underwater archaeology projects in Lake Champlain, the Hudson River, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the Gulf of Mexico, Onondaga Lake, the Yazoo River, the Chesapeake Bay, and the Red River. Adam has a B.A. in anthropology from Millersville University of Pennsylvania, and a M.A. in anthropology from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. In 2004, his book, The Western River Steamboat, was published by Texas A&M University Press.
Arthur B. Cohn, Co-Founder and Special Projects Developer
Arthur B. Cohn is the co-founder and former Executive Director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Art has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Cincinnati, a J.D. from Boston College, and honorary degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Vermont. Over the last 30 years, he has directed most of the underwater archaeological projects in Lake Champlain. Art worked for the passage of the Abandoned Shipwreck Act of 1987 and in 2000-2001 was a member of the United States delegation to the UNESCO treaty conference on the Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Since 1985 Art has served as coordinator of the State of Vermont’s Underwater Historic Preserve program. The author of Lake Champlain Sailing Canal Boats: An Illustrated Journey from Lake Champlain to the Hudson River, Art also directed the Lois McClure Project, creating a full-sized replica of an 1862-class Lake Champlain canal schooner to travel the region’s interconnected northern waterways as an ambassador to its history and shipwrecks.
Christopher R. Sabick, Director or Conservation
Christopher R. Sabick is Director of Conservation at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. He earned a B.A. in history and anthropology from Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, and a M.A. in anthropology from the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University. He has worked at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum since 1999, during which time he has co-authored and edited numerous archaeological reports.
Joanne M. Dennis, Archaeologist
Joanne DellaSalla has been an archaeologist with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s Maritime Research Institute since 2005. She earned a B.A. in anthropology and Spanish from the University of Vermont and a M.A. in anthropology from the University of Denver. Joanne assists the MRI in all aspects of archaeological projects, from research to fieldwork to report production. She has been in the archaeology field since 1998, and has worked in Vermont, Colorado, the Caribbean and South America.
Sarah L. Tichonuk, Nautical Archaeologist
Sarah Tichonuk joined the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 2002. Sarah has a B.A. in archaeology from Boston University, and worked as a crew chief for a contract archaeology firm in upstate New York. At the Maritime Museum, Sarah has worked various capacities including nautical archaeologist, Education Director, graphic designer, and webmaster. She holds a Divemaster certification through the National Association of Underwater Instructors.
Paul Willard Gates, Conservation Lab Technician
Paul Gates joined the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 2008. He has a B.A. from the University of Vermont in History and Minor in Archaeology. Paul is also an EMT for Charlotte Rescue and serves on the board of his family’s foundation.
Alex Lehning, Conservation Lab Technician
Alex joined the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in 2008. Originally from Ohio, he earned an undergraduate degree in History at the University of Maine and completed graduate study in History at the University of Vermont. In addition to his work in the Conservation Lab, Alex serves as the Coordinator for LCMM's Nautical Archeology Field School. While his primary responsibilities are artifact preservation and documentation, he also assists with historical research, archeological fieldwork, and educational programming. Alex's interests include European and American history, historical archeology, and the digital humanities. He currently volunteers as an Archeology Merit Badge Counselor for local Boy Scouts.
Pierre LaRocque, Archaeological Diver & Logistical Coordinator
Pierre LaRocque has been affiliated with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum since 1995 and a NAUI scuba diving instructor for the past 20 years. He graduated with a B.A. from the University of Vermont where he majored in history and anthropology with an emphasis in nautical archaeology. LaRocque is a Monitor for the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserve. His experience with tri-mix/deep diving, ice diving, and underwater photography and videography He also holds a USCG Captain's Master's License with a towing endorsement.
Fill Out the ONLINE APPLICATION