Convicts, Cargo, and Calamity: The Wreck of the Enchantress

Author(s): Abigail E. Casavant

Year: 2016


From 2010-2015, the University of Rhode Island and St. Mary’s College of California conducted an underwater archaeology field school in the waters of Bermuda on a site called the "Iron Plate Wreck." Aptly named for a large block of sheet iron located at the stern, the wreck’s identity remained a mystery for over 50 years. In 2013, however, historical research provided clues to the identity of the wreck, revealing it is the Enchantress, an early 19th century British merchant vessel with a unique past. The Enchantress not only carried cargo when it sank on February 7, 1837, but also the lives of 76 Irish immigrants, all of whom were saved by local Bermudians and the goodwill of the English government. Before the Enchantress transported famine-stricken immigrants, the vessel also served as an Australian convict ship. This paper will examine the wreck's unusual historical background with support from the archaeological record.

Cite this Record

Convicts, Cargo, and Calamity: The Wreck of the Enchantress. Abigail E. Casavant. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434815)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Spatial Coverage

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

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 960