This two-day research cruise in July, held in conjunction with
the annual sanctuary-sponsored Aquanaut Program, investigated
four shipwrecks within the sanctuary. Each day archaeologists,
scientists, teachers, and students boarded the University of Connecticut's
R/V Connecticut in Gloucester, MA for the trips into the
sanctuary's waters. The National Undersea Research Center at the
University of Connecticut provided the investigation's primary
research tool, the remotely operated vehicle (ROV) Hela. Hela
carried lights and cameras into the sanctuary's cold and dark
depths allowing the archaeologists and scientists to document
research vessel Connecticut comes into
Gloucester after a day of ROV operations in the sanctuary.
primary target of this project was the coal schooner Frank
A. Palmer. This survey sought to investigate the schooner's
stern to learn more about the vessel's condition. As the ROV maneuvered
around the Frank A. Palmer, the research team made several
new discoveries. The team located and imaged the schooner's partially
intact steering wheel along with artifacts from the captain's
cabin such as his toilet and sink. Unfortunately, fishing nets
caught in the wreck prevented the ROV from exploring further than
the aftermost mast. Overall, the schooner's hull is in an excellent
state of preservation and is mostly intact up to the main deck
features recorded on the Frank A. Palmer include
the helm (left) and a jug (right). Courtesy of NOAA/SBNMS and
exploring the Frank A. Palmer to the extent allowed by
the entangled fishing nets, the team moved on to explore three
sites that had never been visited by ROV. The sites had been located
with side scan sonar during a remote sensing cruise in June 2004.
Aquanaut students gets a chance to operate the ROV under the watchful
eye of NURC-UConn ROV pilot Craig Bussel.
each site, sanctuary archaeologists wanted to determine the characteristics
and extents of the newly discovered resources. Characteristics
included length, breadth, height above the seafloor, construction
material, and other identifying diagnostic features.
project was made possible through support from the National
Undersea Research Center at the University of Connecticut.
Additional assistance was supplied by the Massachusetts
Board of Underwater Archaeological Resources and Woods
Hole Oceanographic Institution.