Boston Harbor at the turn of the 20th century.
sites lie within theGerry
E. Studds Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary (SBNMS). Human activities
created these sites through a long process that began in ancient times.
Before the ocean flooded Massachusetts Bay, humans and animals walked
land that is now known as Stellwagen Bank. When the ocean inundated
the bay, humans continued accessing the area in watercraft and gathering
its abundant natural resources.
In recent centuries,
modern society has brought increasing use of the sanctuary’s waters.
Located at the mouth of Massachusetts Bay, Stellwagen Bank National
Marine Sanctuary sits astride the historic shipping lanes and fishing
grounds for such ports as Boston, Gloucester, Plymouth, Salem, and Provincetown.
These ports have been centers of maritime activity in New England for
over 300 years. As a result, the sanctuary is a repository for this
nation’s maritime heritage resources in the form of shipwrecks.
Historic uses of
the sanctuary include whaling, fishing, and maritime transportation,
all evidenced by the remains of historic shipwrecks on the seafloor.
The Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary is responsible for interpreting,
protecting and preserving its maritime heritage resources for current
and future generations. Maritime heritage research, monitoring, and
educational programs aim to further knowledge of the past and inform
the public about the importance of all the sanctuary’s resources.
resources are nonrenewable gateways to the past, it is through the interpretation
of these resources that the sanctuary hopes to increase public enjoyment
and appreciation of New England’s maritime history. By studying and
interpreting maritime heritage resources for the public, the sanctuary
seeks to foster a greater understanding of America’s maritime legacy.
A sanctuary researcher studies images relayed from a remotely
Since the sanctuary
began investigating its heritage resources, researchers have located
12 shipwrecks. Past expeditions have used remote sensing technology
to confirm the locations of the Portland, Frank A. Palmer, and Louise
B. Crary. Archaeologists have also located and identified the remains
of the 5-masted schooner Paul Palmer, which burned in 1913. Sanctuary
researchers are systematically investigating the seafloor with sonar
and underwater robots as well as scuba diving to archaeologically document
the sanctuary’s maritime heritage resources.