Archive for the 'Underwater Archaeology' Category

May 24

NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch and MDSU2 Survey SB2C Helldiver Wreck

Thursday, May 24, 2012 4:34 PM


The Naval History and Heritage Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) is currently cooperating with the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift Command (MSC) and U.S. Navy Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit TWO (MDSU-2) to investigate a WWII-era SB2C Helldiver aircraft wreck off the coast of Jupiter, FL. The objectives of the investigation are to identify the aircraft using its numbered identification plates, measure and map the wreck site, and document the aircraft. Investigation operations are being conducted from USNS Apache (T-ATF 172), one of MSC’s four Fleet Ocean Tugs and one of the 14 ships in its Surface Support Program. USNS Apache’s… Read the rest of this entry »

May 17

Underwater Archaeology and STEM Programming

Thursday, May 17, 2012 2:04 PM


The U.S. is currently prioritizing their public education agenda to focus on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects. The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) and its Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) have created a pilot program to highlight aspects of the underwater archaeology field in order to complement STEM initiatives. The purpose of this Underwater Archaeology STEM Program Pilot Project is to expand the reach and influence of both the NHHC and the history and archaeology career field, and educational opportunities associated with underwater archeological science and technology. Archaeologists from the NHHC’s UAB and educators for the National Museum… Read the rest of this entry »

Jan 11

H.L. Hunley Fully Visible for the First Time

Wednesday, January 11, 2012 11:06 AM


On February 17, 1864, Confederate-built H.L. Hunley became the world’s first successful combat submarine when it attacked and sank the 1240-short ton screw sloop USS Housatonic at the entrance to the harbor of Charleston, South Carolina. H.L. Hunley surfaced briefly to signal a successful mission to comrades on shore with a blue magnesium light, after which it was never seen again. All eight of its crewmen were presumed lost and despite multiple search efforts, the submarine could not be relocated.  Over 136 years later, on 8 August, 2000, H.L. Hunley was raised from the sea floor using a specially-designed support frame, or truss. A multi-disciplinary team,… Read the rest of this entry »

Oct 17

Innovative Scientific Analysis Tool at Underwater Archaeology Conservation Lab

Monday, October 17, 2011 1:54 PM


NHHC volunteer, Dr. Raymond Hayes, Professor Emeritus at Howard University, Washington DC, and Woods Hole Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA, has partnered with the Underwater Archaeology & Conservation Laboratory (UACL) to analyze archaeological materials from historic naval shipwrecks. Dr. Hayes has been awarded a Research & Discovery Grant from Olympus INNOV-X to examine archaeological components from shipwrecks using an innovative Delta portable X-Ray Fluorescence (pXRF) unit. This state-of-the-art technology uses an x-ray beam to identify the specific elements present within archaeological material. Dr. Hayes’ research endeavors to use this data to trace the elemental composition of a wood sample back… Read the rest of this entry »

Aug 12

USS SCORPION Project 2011: Final Week

Friday, August 12, 2011 4:08 PM


1 August, 2011 –  This begins the final week of excavation on the 2011 USS Scorpion Project! The team will work together this week to continue to investigate the wreck, map the site and recover artifacts. The team was pleased to welcome 7 staff members on site from NHHC Commemorations  and gave them a tour of the barges and explained the details of the archaeological operation.     2 August, 2011- Today, the archaeology team recovered two important pieces of the ship’s architecture which they believe to be “catheads.” Wooden vessels commonly had a pair of these thick, L-shaped beams incorporated into either side of the bow (one portside, one starboardside). One… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 28

USS SCORPION Project 2011 Day by Day: Week Three

Thursday, July 28, 2011 11:05 AM


     Monday, 18 July 2011- Today, we were back in the Patuxent trenches continuing our efforts to delineate the boundaries of the suspected USS Scorpion wreck. So far, the team has been successful in uncovering ship timbers in test units placed on the upstream and downstream extremities of the site. These test units allow archaeologists to assess the vessel’s degree of preservation, articulation, and orientation within the river. One of the vessel’s features that we are still trying to determine is which end of the wreck is the bow and which end is the stern. Since Scorpion and the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 19

On the Hunt for Bonhomme Richard!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 3:39 PM


On July 17th, the NHHC Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) along with partners from Ocean Technology Foundation, Naval Oceanographic Office, SUPSALV, Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MSDU) 2 and the US Naval Academy, set out to continue the search for one of the Navy’s first fighting vessels, Bonhomme Richard. Captained by the father of our Navy, John Paul Jones, the ship was lost in 1779 after engaging in combat with HMS Serapis off the Yorkshire coast of England. Although Jones emerged victorious, Bonhomme Richard was irreparably damaged. After transferring all men and supplies safely to the captured Serapis, Jones set the… Read the rest of this entry »

Jul 18

USS SCORPION PROJECT 2011 Day By Day: Week One

Monday, July 18, 2011 9:15 AM


Wednesday- 6 July 2011  Today, the Naval History and Heritage’s Command’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) began mobilization for Phase II of the USS Scorpion Project. This collaborative project brings together the UAB, the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT), and the Maryland State Highways Administration (MSHA) for the purposes of archaeologically investigating the remains of the War of 1812 block sloop Scorpion. Under the direction of Drs. Robert Neyland (UAB), Susan Langley (MHT), and Julie Schablitsky (MSHA), field work was initiated in the summer of 2010, which included a remote sensing survey and hydro-probe testing to locate the shipwreck, followed by limited… Read the rest of this entry »

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