Nautical Archaeology

The Maritime Research Institute (MRI) is the research arm of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. Formed in 2000, MRI is a reflection of LCMM’s role in regional, national, and international archaeological research and policymaking as it relates to underwater cultural heritage. It permits our talented team of archaeologists, conservators, and historians to conduct high-quality research, and allows us to better connect the public with the priceless cultural resources that lie underwater.


Underwater Archaeology Field School 2018

Starting in late May and running through mid-June archaeologists from the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) will be hosting a three week underwater archaeological field school.

This is a fantastic opportunity for divers and students to learn archaeological skills and practices while recovering data from one of the Lake’s many shipwrecks.

This is a hands-on, in-water and in-lab experience that combines lectures on general archaeological topics and techniques with in water data recovery and post processing in the lab.

This year’s field school will return to the Basin Harbor Wreck which is located in a shallow protected harbor that allows easy access from shore. The wreck is believed to date from the first half of the nineteenth century but its identification remains a mystery!

Join our team as we explore this wreck in detail and learn more about its place in local history.

The Maritime Research Institute is involved in four primary areas of underwater cultural resource study and management. These include conducting archaeological projects on Lake Champlain and beyond, the preservation of artifacts in our on-campus Conservation Lab, assisting the states of Vermont and New York in the management of shipwrecks on Lake Champlain, including those in the Underwater Historic Preserve System, and providing archaeological services to other organizations.

Current Projects

  • The Shelburne Steamboat Graveyard Project.
  • Archaeological work in support of the Onondaga Lake Superfund Site, Syracuse, NY
  • Hosting an Underwater Archaeology Field School on Lake Champlain
  • Aiding in the management of the Lake Champlain Underwater Historic Preserves
  • Archaeological work in support of the Hudson River Superfund Site, Fort Edward, NY
  • Conserving artifacts in the Conservation Lab, Vergennes, VT