Researchers identify ship that sank in the 18th century in the USA

Hyperaxion Mar 30, 2020

The vessel reappeared on a beach in the north of the country after a storm. According to historians, the ship was built before the War of Independence, which lasted from 1775 to 1783.

In 2018, a storm revealed the wreckage of a shipwreck on a beach in the state of Maine in the United States. Now, a study conducted at the archaeological site has revealed that the vessel was built before the country’s War of Independence, which lasted from 1775 to 1783.

This was not the first time that the ship’s “skeleton” was observed – due to rain and sand, the ship has been buried and dug up several times in recent years. However, it was only now that, with a combination of archaeological work, scientific dating and analysis of historical records, a team of researchers was able to specify the age of the vessel.

Researchers identify ship that sank in the 18th century in the USA
Researchers identify ship that sank in the 18th century in the USA. (Credit: York Maine Police Department).

According to Stefan Claesson, who led the investigation, the ship is called Defiance, was built in 1754, sank in 1769 and was approximately 15.5 meters long. “I think the ship is a pinky, a type of cargo ship,” said the expert in an interview with the local newspaper, Seacoastline.com.

Claesson said he used drones to map the region and collected samples of wood from the ship. “We know the precise location of all the wreck’s pieces, we know the elevation. We can use that information for further study and protection of the site,” said the expert.

With the help of Cornell University, also in the United States, the experts were able to find out when the trees used to build the ship were cut down. According to the team, dendrochronology, a technique that identifies the date of the wood using characteristic patterns on tree rings, indicates that the wood was cut in 1753.

To find out which specific ship the wreckage belonged to, Claesson studied dozens of pages of historical documents in the region’s library. “I examined the records kept by [local notary] Daniel Moulton,” he said. “He kept records for 50 years, from 1750 to 1794, and followed all shipwrecks in the area with an extremely detailed record.”

The vessel reappeared on a beach in the north of the country after a storm.
The vessel reappeared on a beach in the north of the country after a storm. (Credit: Records of American Shipwrecks).

This is how the historian discovered the sinking of a ship known as Defiance, which ran aground in that region in the middle of 1769.

According to Moulton’s notes, four crew members worked on the ship, which was carrying flour, pork and other supplies, when a storm caused the ship to crash into rocks. “They tried to save the vessel, but it ended up falling apart,” said Claesson.

According to historians, the ship was built before the War of Independence that lasted from 1775 to 1783.
According to historians, the ship was built before the War of Independence that lasted from 1775 to 1783. (Credit: Archeology.org).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the agency responsible for disaster planning and mitigation in the United States, is expected to help protect the archaeological site. Mainly because, according to Archeology.org, it appears that some of the wreckage has been lost or removed recently. “Photographs of the ship taken in the 1950s and 1970s show that its mast has been cut off.”

For Claesson and his colleagues, the ideal is for FEMA to try to protect the structure and educate the local population about the importance of the archaeological site. “I suggested a rapid-response team of local volunteers who could cordon the site and educate the public so that nobody climbs on it or takes anything,” noted the historian.

Comments

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of