In Black Water And In Bright Sunshine: Three Decades of Riverine Archaeology In Inland Waterways

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  • Arks, Broadhorns, and Hoop-Pole Boats: The America Flatboat Wreck in Southern Illinois (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mark Wagner.

    Shoe-box shaped "flatboats" represented the most common vessel type on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers from 1770-1900. Although  tens of thousands of these boats were built during this period, by 1915 a historian lamented that "not one of them remains" . In 2002, however, SIU archaeologists documented the remains of  an early 1800s  flatboat wreck found resting on the Illinois shoreline near the abandoned town of "America". Subsequent documentation of the 45 ft long x 12 ft wide wreck provided...

  • A Canoe on a Sand Bar: The Remarkable Story of the Guth Canoe in Northeast Arkansas (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jeffrey Mitchem.

    For thousands of years before motorized transportation, dugout canoes were the mode of water travel in interior North America. Due to their perishable nature, they are rarely found archaeologically. Most have been preserved due to being kept submerged in anaerobic conditions or buried in underwater sediments. In Arkansas, only a handful have been found, all in riverine situations. The severe flooding in northeast Arkansas in 2008 dislodged a dugout in the St. Francis River that ended up on a...

  • Ironclads and Indian Mounds: The U.S. Mississippi River Squadron Naval Base at Mound City, Illinois (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Go Matsumoto. Mark Wagner.

    From 1862-1865 Mound City, Illinois, on the Ohio River was the home  of the 200 ship strong Union Navy Mississippi River Squadron that broke the southern stranglehold on the Mississippi River. Commanded by Commodore Foote and Admiral Porter, the naval base played a crucial role in constructing and repairing armored ships throughout the war. Base facilites included a shipways, foundry, carpenters shop, storehouses,  and hospital. The only visible remnants of the base today are portions of the...

  • "Old Al's Going To Get It," At Least For A While: Recent Riverine Archaeology in Arkansas (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Leslie C. Stewart-Abernathy.

    To understand Arkansas history, it is constructive to study the use of the extensive network of navigable waterways in and near the State. In the last 30 years, archaeologists have documented recovered Native American canoes, as well as researched vessels employed from the Trail of Tears in the 1830s to the end of the Wooden Age in the 1930s. A major step was at West Memphis on the Mississippi in 1988, when record low water permitted professionals and amateurs to use dry-land field techniques to...

  • Schwatka: The History and Engineering of a Late Nineteenth-Century Yukon River Steamboat (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John C Pollack. Sheli O. Smith. Sean Adams. Robyn P Woodward.

    In the late 19th century the Klondike Gold Rush in the Yukon Territory created an unprecedented shipbuilding boom along the West Coast of North America.  More than 131 riverboats were constructed in a single year, often with considerable design variation.  This paper describes the history, unique characteristics and engineering of the well-preserved wooden hull of Schwatka, a stern wheel steamboat now lying in the terrestrial "boneyard" at West Dawson, Yukon, Canada.   

  • Ship Graveyards: What Complete Shipwreck Removal Reveals About 19th Century Barge, Dredge and Tug Boat Construction (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kira E. Kaufmann.

    Great Lakes barge and dredge vessels were the workhorses that launched the 20th century’s economy in the region. However, these ships were historically and archaeologically marginalized. They were not the vessels whose travels were recorded in historic newspapers, or whose architectural plans were archived. Very little information about 19th century barge and dredge ship construction had been recorded for Great Lakes vessels. Eleven shipwrecks, including barges, dredges, tugs, and a schooner...

  • Sultana: Greatest Maritime Tragedy in United States History: A Nation's Best Kept Secret (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lindsay S Scott.

    The disaster of Sultana has been recognized as the greatest maritime tragedy in United States history.  The wreck has little notoriety, despite its significance, due to historical overshadowing and a terminal resting place in the landlocked state of Arkansas.  Efforts for salvage were immediate, but archaeological undertakings have been cautious and sporadic.  An unwelcoming landscape and lack of interest and funding have consorted so that as we approach the sesquicentennial anniversary of...