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Knocking on Davy Jones’’s Locker: The Unusual Circumstances of War of 1812 Wrecks USS Hamilton and USS Scourge

Author(s): Daniel Brown

Year: 2014

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Summary

The War of 1812 was a pivotal conflict in defining both the infantile United States and laying the ground work for Canadian Confederation and the long road to Canadian Independence. In terms of nautical archaeology, little remains that allows the modern archaeologist to explore and understand this lesser known conflict. The catastrophic sinking of USS Hamilton and Scourge 200 years ago created extremely rare time capsules of material culture. Both ships came to rest intact on their keels in 90 meters below the surface of Lake Ontario. These modified merchant schooners comprise a remarkable archaeological site, invaluable in terms of underwater cultural heritage. These vessels deserve serious legal and ethical examination. This paper presents the historical background, circumstances of discovery, and legal paths of ownership and management of the site and the various stakeholders involved. Secondarily, the paper discusses the archaeological and legal significance of each site, and explores ethical concerns regarding the wrecks’’ management, present day condition, and concerns for future preservation.


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Knocking on Davy Jones’’s Locker: The Unusual Circumstances of War of 1812 Wrecks USS Hamilton and USS Scourge. Daniel Brown. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. 2014 ( tDAR id: 437291)


Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): SYM-72,10

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