Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck

As many of you may remember back in 2004 the beach replenishment equipment at Lewes Delaware started kicking up artifacts made in the late 1700's on to the beach (about 40,000 pieces).  The Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs, investigated and authorised an underwater field investigation.  In 2006 the investigated decided it was a late 18th century merchant ship that had gone down off Lewes. The State of Delaware contracted with Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc. (SEARCH) of Florida, to accomplish a variety of field investigations. From September 27 through October 27, 2006, SEARCH conducted a preliminary remote sensing survey, a non-intrusive hydro-probe survey, controlled surface collection of artifacts, a controlled excavation of eleven 10-x-10-foot grid squares, and a post-remote sensing survey of the Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck.
The result was in 2010  a 335 page report was released on the investigation and what they found.  The Report has been redacted (areas blacked out) to remove references to location coordinates and other location information.
The report is here

At times it is quite boring and at other times fascinating.  It has a lot of pictures and gives you an ideal what a merchant ship carried on it and explanations of how the goods were used.  They do point out that the ship appears to have been extensively salvaged for it's cargo, timbers and fasteners.  Just in sweeping the surface of site and excavating down 12 inches in 11 grid sites they found 26,494 artifacts (mostly fragments.)  Very few coins were found.  I think in looking at the list of found items half must have been broken clay smoking pipes.  So the end result is Lewes Beach, around the inlet ,may be a good artifact hunting site after the next storm.

Update 8/19: I should have been at the inlet yesterday (Sunday) when the helicopter dropped $10,000 in bills.  Would have been more to my benefit than trinkets.

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