In 2010 and 2011, the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), the US Navy, and Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) conducted archaeology surveys in the Patuxent River on a War of 1812 shipwreck. This blog documents our underwater archaeology surveys.


July 26, 2010

The search is on....

Last week, we began our survey work out on the Patuxent River. The first two days were spent removing an overhanging tree and conducting a remote sensing survey over the site. The magnetic images provided an approximate location of the shipwreck. Based on this data, we began to hydroprobe the survey area in an attempt to pinpoint the exact location of the wooden wreck. This survey method included taking a 20 ft long, one inch diameter copper pipe and sticking the long probe into the sediments until we encountered metal or wood. A continual jet stream of water helped the pipe penetrate the river bottom. It was quite easy to determine when you hit wood and when you encountered gravel and sand. You can feel the texture of the sediment as you push the “T” handle of the probe down. By Sunday, we found the shipwreck buried under 6 feet of sediment. Pictured below: Rick Ervin trimming brush (left) and JB and Alexis hydroprobing (right).













Today we are finishing up the hydroprobing and moving the barges into place so that we have a place to stage our excavation equipment and sediment. When we are not on the site, we have security guards stationed on the barges. Later this week, we will begin dredging out the sediment and overburden on the shipwreck using a three inch aluminum pipe that will pump out a slurry of sediment and water into a large container located on our barge. Once we are closer to the wreck, we will begin to screen the sediment for artifacts. Check back tomorrow on our progress!
Above photo: Barges and containers ready to be pulled out to the site.

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