As a recreational diver and history enthusiast, I was extremely excited to be given the opportunity to participate in this year’s LCMM field school at the Basin Harbor wreck site. Since I was a very young boy looking at pictures in National Geographic, I have always harbored a passion for history and shipwrecks. So being able to work on a wreck of a well-preserved wooden vessel in such a historically important waterway has been a real privilege.
In addition to fulfilling my personal interests, the program has provided me with an excellent introduction to the science of underwater archaeology. Coming to this setting from a pre-med background, I am used to collecting and analyzing data in a laboratory environment. Having to take scientific notes underwater was a definite first for me, in addition to being exposed to the methods used by underwater archaeologist to examine and interpret a site.
Following a few days of examining the condition of the site, setting a baseline and taking detailed measurements, today we finally began excavating. Using a suction dredge underwater did a take a little getting used to. Fortunately the dredge is far more awkward out of the water than in it, so within a very short period of time I got the hang of it. The dredging paid off as we began to find some artifacts almost immediately in addition to exposing new portions of the wreck which were extremely well preserved.
Unfortunately for the next dive team, an equipment malfunction drastically shortened their dive. The problem appears to be solved in time for the next excavation day thanks to my classmate’s skills with epoxy and fiberglass. A few minor technical obstacles and inclement weather have caused some difficulty during the first week of the project. However, the outlook for the days ahead looks extremely promising. Stay Tuned…