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Conservation adds yet another piece to the puzzle: the treatment of a 16th century Basque anchor from Red Bay National Historic Site, Labrador

Author(s): Flora Davidson

Year: 2014

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Summary

Red Bay is recognized as the largest 16th century Basque whaling station in North America. This is based on extensive archival research begun in the 1970’s followed by 6 years of archaeological survey and excavation resulting in thousands of artifacts being raised. Even at this well studied site, the opportunity to add to the existing wealth of knowledge presented itself with the discovery of another wreck and anchor in 2004. While in-situ inspection of the wreck’s construction and anchor morphology indicated 16th century origin; concreted layers of corrosion limited further assessment. The decision was thus made to raise the anchor for conservation. After careful removal of the concretions at the Parks Canada laboratory, unique findings were uncovered. Not only was cordage found, a plain woven multi-layer wrapping was also found wrapped around the anchor. With this discovery an aspect of Basque maritime technology was revealed that had not previously been seen. This paper will discuss the interaction between archaeologist, material culture specialist and conservator during the treatment which lead to the preservation of information and material that otherwise may have been lost.


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Conservation adds yet another piece to the puzzle: the treatment of a 16th century Basque anchor from Red Bay National Historic Site, Labrador. Flora Davidson. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 436955)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-41,02

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