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Data Recovery at the Derelict Site, Savannah, GA: Investigation and Documentation of a Derelict Nineteenth Century Sailing Vessel

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In 1985, construction of emergency bend wideners in Savannah Harbor caused accelerated erosion downstream, exposing the remains of a previously unknown wooden vessel in the banks of Hutchinson Island opposite the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In October and November 1987, the vessel was partially excavated and documented. The remains are those of a two-masted vessel, probably a brig or schooner, with an original length estimated at 90 feet and maximum beam of 26 feet. · Analysis indicates that the vessel was built in the Canadian Maritime Provinces and dates to the first third of the nineteenth century. In its entirety, the Derelict vessel represents a significant example of early Canadian shipbuilding practices. Additionally, repairs evident in sections of the surviving structure may provide rare and valuable new insight into southern shipbuilding traditions during this period.

Investigation of the Derelict Site was conducted by OSM Archaeological Consultants, Inc., under contract to the u.s. Army Corps of Engineers - Savannah District. This report presents the results of field and archival research and laboratory analysis, including a discussion of methodology, historical summary, documentary photographs and drawings of the vessel and recovered artifacts, and analysis of the vessel, artifacts and site deposition and development processes. Recommendations for further archival and on-site research and testing are included, based on an evaluation of the vessel's significance and in light of its pending dest ruction.