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Ugly Duckling and Work Horse: A Mid-19th Century Lighter from San Francisco Bay’s Yerba Buena Cove and Its Scale Model

Author(s): John P Schlagheck

Year: 2015

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Summary

In 2013 WSA recovered a well preserved Gold Rush Era lighter from the original shore of Yerba Buena Cove. This boat, used to "lighten" the load of ships anchored off-shore, is providing new insight into the working craft of early maritime San Francisco. Found in strong association with the 19th-century ship breaking and salvage industry near the cove, the boat’s simple design and homely non-standard construction evoke images of the rugged Western frontier.

Using in situ photographs and an intensive study of the lighter in conservation, the author has documented the artifact and constructed a 1:12 scale model. This paper provides a description of the lighter’s construction using the scale model as a reflective tool, discusses likely methods of propulsion and steering, and contextualizes the lighter within the world of maritime San Francisco.  The author situates the scale model in the broader framework of experimental boat and ship archaeology.


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Cite this Record

Ugly Duckling and Work Horse: A Mid-19th Century Lighter from San Francisco Bay’s Yerba Buena Cove and Its Scale Model. John P Schlagheck. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Seattle, Washington. 2015 ( tDAR id: 434190)


Keywords


Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 253

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America