East Carolina University 2007 Field School
in Underwater Archaeology
5 June 2007
By Jeremy Eamick
Tuesday the 5th is a monumental day at the site. I turned 28 today and that’s always important. Aside from that obscure fact, the team did have a few interesting discoveries today and we were able to improve on our map making skills as we tried to finish our sections of the ship. The team was actually split up since Dr. Babits, Calvin, and Adam were busy gathering the materials for sonar. These three spent a majority of the day preparing the sonar equipment for later in the week while the rest of us remained on site.
Crew Chief Michelle Damian helps prepare slates for the day's work.
The team learned to change the parameters of our mapping skills from the first day. I myself learned a lot over one day of mapping to the other with assistance from the professors. The map I produced from day one was a lot of points plotted on a grid. This became problematic when we sat down to discern my map and couldn’t quite figure out which points represented which line. Thankfully I was able to remember a portion of what I had mapped and returned today to re-plot a few points and add lines to better emphasize my section of the ship.
I found a few interesting features on my section that have us wondering. There are two points along the keelson where there is an attachment of wood that remains a mystery. I first noticed the curved wood attachment and mentioned to the professors who then examined the keelson to find a second curve in Steve’s section (the 10-20 foot section). The quarter circle piece is attached at the 24 foot mark and had a diamond shaped rock on top of it. No one could discern why the rock was on top of that piece of wood and the overall purpose of the keelson attachment is still in doubt. I am very curious about this since I feel it is significant in some way. Ship builders do not hew wood without reasons and this piece is so smoothly curved I believe it had a function for the ship. My guess is for structural support, possibly as part of the aft hatches. That is just a theory I developed from studying the structural drawings that were provided for us. This could be something else entirely, but we won’t know that for a while.
Dr. Stewart and Jeremy Eamick feel their way through the wreck. (watch video)
My section also produced a peg that was of little importance, but led to the hull seams which confirmed a hypothesis of the professors about how the hull planking lay. My section is so interesting because it remained the least cluttered of the section. The forward portion contained ceiling planking in good condition that extended from 1.6 feet from the keel all the way to the hull. These planks continued to the 26 foot mark, where a beam or frame separated the ceiling planking from the aft end of my section. The remaining section was the hull itself, though it was covered with 3-5 inches of mud. I was able to find the hull seams, which ran one foot apart and athwartships rather than fore and aft. This section had little debris that needed to be recorded but overall was quite clear.
Nadine also found something of interest; a possible mast aft of the stern post. Michelle and Dr. Stewart inspected the timber before they suggested it was indeed a mast, but the find uplifted us and encouraged some great humor.
Mel discovered the remnants of the boom, though this hasn’t been confirmed. The boom was aft of the stempost and located toward the middle of her section. Mel was unable to finish as her section required more dredging to allow better access to the timbers.
Students take advantage of a break to relax, clean up their drawings, or pour cold water on each other.
Overall the day was both fun and entertaining. Dredge work is mind-numbing and repetitive while mapping is interesting. The need to feel the planks and seams means that gloves are a hindrance for the site, while the biting fish or shrimp mean we all yelp occasionally. Sadly, the day was also quite hot, with no wind or clouds until we departed for the evening. The heat was not too bad but the continuous sun made me wish for a sombrero or umbrella I could plant over my section. Thankfully I finished my section before the end of the day and will clean it up so that it resembles something other than a bad ink blot.
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