UNDERWATER DIG: The Excavation of a Revolutionary War Privateer by Barbara & David C. Switzer Ford

UNDERWATER DIG: The Excavation of a Revolutionary War Privateer

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As per the foreword: ""In 1972 a group of professors and students from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Maine Maritime Academy discovered . . . the remains of a privateer that sank during the American Revolution . . . in an inlet on the coast of Maine in Penobscot Bay."" The discovery was not altogether an accident; a Maine Maritime Academy history professor who had researched the ship's fatal battle had proposed it as a summer-workshop target for a student-made sonar device. Ford and Switzer, who directed the excavation, begin with a description of the 1779 battle (an American defeat), summarize the history professor's clues and conclusions, then go on to describe the early exploration; the recovery of items from the wreck; the preservation procedures undertaken at the Maine State Museum, which took many of the artifacts; the careful on-site mapping and record-keeping; the ""preservation through documentation"" of the hull itself, which was not brought up; and the consequent conclusions--of interest to specialists but not especially dramatic--drawn about ship-building and ship life in Colonial and Revolutionary times. All this, a product of six summers' work, is set forth conscientiously and in clear, straightforward sentences, but without much color. For human interest we get only repeated use of team members' names and many photos of them standing around observing chunks of stuff.

Pub Date: Sept. 22nd, 1982
Publisher: Morrow