Lessons That Count: What We Have Learned From Large, Multi-Year Underwater Excavations

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2014

Exploring this years’ conference theme, Questions that count, this session will explore what we have learned as a discipline from underwater excavations that spanned over many seasons and involved extensive research and conservation programs. The session will see presenters focus on the same themes and discuss on the successes and challenges for each theme. This will set the stage for a follow-up panel discussion to expand on the same themes as well as other subjects relating to these large projects. The discussed themes will be: funding, operations in the field, short- and long-term staffing, research, publication, presentation to the public and long-term economic benefits of the project.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-8 of 8)

  • Documents (8)

  • A Big Project for a Small Submarine: H.L. Hunley, Recovery, Conservation and Interpretation (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Robert S. Neyland.

    The Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley was recovered from the seafloor off Charleston, SC in 2000. The planning and preparation for the archaeology, engineering, and conservation was extensive and was accelerated over a 2 year span. This included development of innovative recovery methodology and construction of a state of the art conservation laboratory, as well as procuring 4 to 5 million dollars for a project that was heavily front-end loaded with costs. However difficult this seems, it is...

  • Fifteen years downstream’ ...Reflections on the HMS Swift Archaeological Project (Argentina) (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Dolores Elkin.

    HMS Swift was a British sloop of war that sank in 1770 off the coast of what later became Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. In 1997 the underwater archaeology team of the National Institute of Anthropology took charge of the research of the site, conducting various surveying and excavation seasons in the following years. By 2011 significant progress had been achieved on various research strands of the project and a comprehensive report was published. This presentation will address several issues...

  • La Natière 1999/2008: What we have learnt from a Large, Multi-years French underwater excavation (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Michel L’Hour. Elisabeth Veyrat.

    From 1999 to 2008, a 10 years underwater archaeological excavation has been carried away, by French Ministry of Culture DRASSM and the ADRAMAR association, on two French Frigates sunk off St. Malo (France). One has been identified as the Dauphine, a light frigate built for privateering in the royal dockyard of Le Havre (1703) and sunk on December 1704. The other is known as the Aimable Grenot, a large frigate built in Granville for a private ship-owner (1747), armed for privateering then for...

  • Lessons that Count: The La Belle Project, A Large-Scale Excavation in the Gulf of Mexico (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Jim Bruseth.

    In 1686, the French exploration vessel La Belle went down in Matagora Bay off the coast of what is now Texas. Three-hundred and ten years later, the small 45-ton vessel resurfaced from the bottom of the waters of the Gulf of Mexico under the trowels of underwater archaeologists working inside a coffer dam. Drawing from the experience of other previous large-scale excavations, Texas Historical Society’s La Belle project provided new innovations of its own. This paper will discuss various...

  • The Mary Rose: The Legacy of a Large-Scale Excavation in the UK (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Christopher Dobbs.

    The excavation of the Tudor warship Mary Rose lost in 1545 in the Solent, near Portsmouth, remains to date the largest underwater archaeological excavation in the United Kingdom and possibly the world. This project had a huge impact in the development of the discipline of underwater archaeology in the UK and abroad, and it influenced a generation of archaeologists and avocational archaeological divers who were trained on the site. The newly opened permanent museum shows how successful the...

  • Shipwrecks of the Roaring Forties: a maritime archaeological reassessment of some of Australia’s earliest Shipwrecks (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Wendy Van Duivenvoorde. Alistair Paterson. Jeremy Green.

    This paper discusses a new project that attempts to make a significant contribution to our understanding of Europeans active in the Indian Ocean and Western Australian region during the 17th and 18th centuries through the unique window into the past provided by maritime archaeological sites. A strategic international alliance of university and museum researchers will return to shipwreck sites excavated over 40 years ago to examine how approaches to maritime archaeological sites have changed over...

  • The Underwater Archaeology of Red Bay, Labrador: A Large-Scale Project Conducted in Sub-Arctic Waters (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Peter Wadell. Robert Grenier.

    In 1978, the discovery of a 1565 Basque whaling galleon in Red Bay Labrador by a Parks Canada team of underwater archaeologists led to the first ever large-scale excavation in sub-Arctic waters, which in turn triggered the development of innovative techniques and methods in the discipline. The techniques used in the underwater archaeology of Red Bay were the cumulative result of more than a decade of intensive fieldwork and experience acquired since 1964. In turn, it left a legacy of high...

  • The Vasa: A Pioneer in Large-Scale Underwater Excavations (2014)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Fred Hocker.

    The recovery of the Swedish warship Vasa in 1961 from the waters of Stockholm harbour where it sank in 1628 on its maiden voyage represents one of the first large-scale excavations and stands as a pioneer in shipwreck recovery showing substantial remains. The remarkable state of preservation of the vessel and of its contents represented an enormous challenge and the techniques and methods for recovery, conservation, interpretation and research have paved the way for other large scale projects to...