Notes from the Field: Week 5

After the weekend, we returned to site with the focus of separating the individual elements that make up the pile. A large anchor, A2, lies atop 8 cannon. With such a large concentration of iron, the cannon and anchor have concreted together to form one massive concretion – too large to recover all together. To recover artifacts from the pile we need to separate them. We began this work this week. We first tried using an old fashioned hammer and chisel, but it quickly became apparent that the immense concretion was too thick to attack with man-power alone.  A pneumatic chisel attached to an air compressor on the deck of R/V Jones Bay proved to speed up the process, and we made some headway.  The pneumatic chisel has made it much easier to map and remove cannon balls and ballast stones as we come upon them lodged deep within the concretion.

We also managed to raise two large cask hoop concretions and another concretion of unidentified artifacts, along with an assortment of small objects and get them all transported back to the lab.  Another very productive week for the team, considering we only worked three days because of Labor Day and one bad weather day!  The seas flattened out entirely on Thursday, and by Friday, the visibility climbed to 15 feet. All the divers marveled at the rare opportunity to be able to see the entire wreck site upon descent.

Our team grew this week with the addition of ECU graduate student Nicole Wittig. We are excited to have her on board for the remainder of the fall season!

Week 5 was September 3-6.

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