A Preliminary Autopsy on Coffins Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts

Author(s): Victor T Mastone; Leland Crawford

Year: 2017


From June to September 2014, the remains of a previous unknown shipwreck emerged from the sands of Coffins Beach. Named for the Coffin family and not a funerary item, it is a north facing barrier beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Initial field investigation revealed a much older vessel.  Detailed documentary research identified up to 80 shipwrecks occurring in the vicinity since 1635; two thirds occurring prior to 1860, chiefly described as shallops, sloops, and early schooners.  The extant vessel’s hull form is suggestive of that of a "Chebacco boat" as described by William Baker in his book Sloops & Shallops (1966).  Chebacco is the colonial name for the nearby town of Essex where this 2-masted gaff rigged vessel form originated in about 1660.  While this vessel form was the ubiquitous colonial vessel type, there are no known archaeological remains.  The paper will describe preliminary investigation and finding that this site is a Chebacco boat.

Cite this Record

A Preliminary Autopsy on Coffins Beach, Gloucester, Massachusetts. Victor T Mastone, Leland Crawford. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435181)


Temporal Keywords
18th Century

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): 363