Yorktown Shipwreck Project, USA

The Betsy
Built - 1772, Whitenhave, Cumbria, England
Sunk - October 1781
Depth - 7 m (23 ft)
Excavation - 1982-8
Hull - 23 m (75 ft) long
Tonnage - 176 tons burthen

"Events leading to the discovery and excavation of the Betsy began in late October 1975, as I sat in a small Yorktown restaurant overlooking the cold, turbid waters of the York River. With me, studiously examining several damp sketches on Mylar, were William Kelso, Virginia State Archaeologist; Gordon Watts, North Carolina State Underwater Archaeologist; and John Sands, Director for Collections at The Mariners' Museum. Gordon and I were explaining the sketches from our day's dive just offshore from where we sat. Gordon reported, "We have a large wooden shipwreck, more than 30 m (99 ft) long. There's every reason to believe that it dates to the American Revolution." 

"And there's evidence it's being pilfered by recreational divers," I added. - John D. Broadwater


Broadwater, John D., "From Collier to Troop Transport: The Betsy, Yorktown, Virginia" in "Beneath the Seven Seas," edited by George F. Bass, pp. 200-205. New York and London, 2005.

Additional Resources

Broadwater, John D., "Final Report on the Yorktown Shipwreck Archaeological Project."contributions by Philip L. Armitage ... [et al.]. c1995.

Powell, Christine A., "Yorktown Project Final Report Now Available" in the INA Quarterly Vol. 23 No. 1, Spring 1996. Institute of Nautical Archaeology.