The U.S. Naval Brig Somers: A Mexican War Shipwreck of 1846

Author(s): Pilar Luna Erreguerena; James Delgado

Year: 2016


The brig Somers gained fame in the United States as the setting of a notorious mutiny in 1842 that directly inspired the writing of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd.  The vessel was subsequently lost while on blockade duty off Veracruz during the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846.  Rediscovered in 1986, the wreck was an untouched archaeological resource.  It also served as the means for a pioneering international collaboration between the two former combatants in the management and study of the wreck.  This was the first time such a project, potentially sensitive, brought the representative nations together to archaeologically focus on a shipwreck from a past war.  Two field projects, in 1990 and 1999, were a collaboration of the National Park Service and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia. This paper summarizes the history, discovery, diplomatic initiatives, and the current status of this unique Gulf shipwreck.

Cite this Record

The U.S. Naval Brig Somers: A Mexican War Shipwreck of 1846. Pilar Luna Erreguerena, James Delgado. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 435053)


Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 314