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INA’s 2019 Fieldwork & Research Projects

By November 12, 2018November 23rd, 2018No Comments
In 2019, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology will support more than 20 new and continuing archaeological projects around the globe. This research is driven by the graduate students (both current and former) and faculty members of Texas A&M University’s Nautical Archaeology Program, as well as INA Research Associates and Affiliated Scholars. Some of the projects that received INA support for 2019 are:

Archival Research on Civil War Blockade Runners (USA)
Barto Arnold (INA)
The Denbigh was a Civil War blockade runner lost at Galveston, Texas in 1865. Post-excavation research this year will focus on National Archive records and documentary sources, providing context for these vessels and the trade in which they engaged. For a list of volumes already published on the history of Denbigh, click here: Civil War Blockade Runner Denbigh Project

King’s Shipyard Project (USA) – 2019 INA Discovery Fund Recipient
Dan Bishop (
Texas A&M University)
The British sloop Boscawen was lost in 1759 off Fort Ticonderoga, New York, and excavated in 1985. As the oldest ship excavated from Lake Champlain and one of only a handful of mid-18th-century ships excavated in the Americas, a detailed study of its construction will shed light on this foundational era of American history. The King’s Shipyard Project, one of three beneficiaries of the inaugural year of the INA Discovery Fund, aims to document and reconstruct the remains of Boscawen as well as survey the site for the remains of sister ship Duke of Cumberland and any remaining artifacts.

Lake Champlain GPR Survey (USA)
Dan Bishop (
Texas A&M University)
This innovative project will utilize ground-penetrating radar (GPR) on the frozen surface of Lake Champlain to survey the known site of the Boscawen wreck. GPR technology is typically applied in terrestrial contexts, and this novel, through-ice approach is poised to help researchers assess its utility in locating underwater cultural heritage sites. In surveying a known site, the team aims to establish identifiers of submerged vessels and begin to construct a basis for comparison between different sediments.

Mid-Atlantic Logboat Registry (USA)
John Broadwater (Archeological Society of Virginia)

Due to increased erosion and sea level rise along the mid-Atlantic coastal plain, cultural sites in the region are in danger of destruction. This project will inventory and build a database of historically valuable log canoes associated with pre- and post-contact Native Americans, enslaved African Americans, and colonial settlers. The team will inspect and document as many logboats as possible, and laser scan select boats. The inventory will assess the boats’ significance and threat level to prioritize them for future conservation, curation, and exhibition.

Underwater Archaeology of Roman Kaukana (Italy)
Massimo Capulli (University of Udine)

On a stretch of the Italian coast between Punta Braccetto and the seaside village of Casuzze, several landings and coastal shelters delineate the Greco-Roman site of Kaukana, which was connected to trade routes between the East, Tripoli, Egypt, Rome, Malta, and Sicily. The aim of the Kaukana Project, is to survey the site for underwater cultural heritage and reconstruct Kaukana’s relationship with the rest of the Mediterranean. This year, the team will continue excavating and documenting the Byzantine shipwreck of Punta Secca.

Gaspé Bay Survey (Canada) – 2019 INA Discovery Fund Recipient
Chris Dostal and Carolyn Kennedy (
Texas A&M University)
The Gaspé Peninsula, in eastern Quebec, has been home over the centuries to indigenous and European fishermen, whalers, and traders. It was in Gaspé Bay, in 1534, that Jacques Cartier first landed in Canada, claiming it for France. The region’s long and rich maritime tradition suggests that much material culture is waiting to be found, though the area has been largely unstudied. The project will survey the bay with side scan sonar to identify wreck targets of interest. This project is one of three to benefit from funding provided by the inaugural year of the INA Discovery Fund.

Boats and Coffins: Vessels for the Afterlife (England, Germany)
Douglas Inglis (Texas A&M University) and Caroline Arbuckle McLeod (University of British Columbia, Vancouver)

In 1913, William Flinders Petrie excavated a collection of wooden coffins from the Egyptian First Dynasty (2900-2730 BCE) at Tarkhan. The origin and purpose of the coffin planks have been debated, with some researchers proposing that the planks had originally belonged to watercraft. New evidence from the excavation of the Abusir Boat (also supported by INA) suggests that perhaps the planks were indeed repurposed from boats. This project will examine the coffin planks in an effort to determine whether the reuse of boat planks served a symbolic connection to boats and their role in the Egyptian afterlife.

Yenikapı Byzantine Shipwrecks Project (Turkey) – 2019 Van Doorninck Byzantine Shipwreck Grant Recipient
Michael Jones (Koç University/INA)

This project is one of two recipients of the 2019 Fred and B.J. Van Doorninck Byzantine Shipwreck Grant. More than 35 shipwrecks from the fifth to the eleventh centuries were uncovered during the construction of the Istanbul metro line from 2005 to 2008. The ships are among the best-preserved Byzantine shipwrecks ever discovered. This project will continue the hull timber documentation and sampling of the eighth- to ninth-century shipwreck known as Yenikapı 23, including a timber catalog, photography, 1:1 scale drawings, 3D modeling, and dendrochronological dating. Learn more here: Yenikapı Byzantine Shipwrecks.

Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project (Italy) – 2019 Van Doorninck Byzantine Shipwreck Grant Recipient
Justin Leidwanger (Stanford University/INA) 

This collaborative project, one of two recipients of the 2019 Fred and B.J. Van Doorninck Byzantine Shipwreck Grant, focuses on the maritime landscape and seaborne communication off the southeast coast of Sicily. The project will continue its investigations of the “church wreck,” which carried prefabricated architectural elements for one or more late antique churches, as well as other Aegean and Levantine materials. Work will include excavation and 3D modeling and analysis of excavated and in situ materials. Mapping of the seafloor will be accomplished with a combination of stereoscopic scanning and photogrammetry. Learn more here: Marzamemi Maritime Heritage Project.

Yukon River Steamboat Survey (Canada)
John Pollack (INA)

When the Gold Rush exploded in 1897, West Coast shipyards responded to the demand, and stern-wheelers were constructed in yards as far south as San Francisco and as far north as Dutch Harbor in the Aleutian Islands. In total, 266 stern- and side-wheeled steamboats operated on the Yukon River in Alaska and Canada. When the boom dissipated in 1900, many steamship companies either went bankrupt or were bought out by competitors, and vessels were left derelict on shore. As a result, the Yukon now contains one of the greatest intact collections of stern-wheel vessels known to exist. The Yukon River Project, initiated in 2005, aims to document the range of construction techniques used on these late 19th-century vessels. Work this year will focus on archival research and side scan surveys of Kootenay Lake, Slocan Lake, and the Upper Arrow Lakes. Learn more here: Yukon River Steamboat Survey.

Albania Ancient Shipwreck Survey (Albania) – 2019 INA Discovery Fund Recipient
David Ruff (Texas A&M University)

This project is one of three recipients for the inaugural year of the Discovery Fund. In the 2018 season survey, five shipwrecks were investigated by the team and two of them were identified as candidates for future INA excavation. The goal this year is to conduct remote sensing investigations, build a catalog of surveyed areas of the Albanian coast, and conduct further survey.

Ribadeo Project (Spain)
Miguel San Claudio Santa Cruz (Universidade Nova de Lisboa)

The Spanish galleon San Giacomo di Galizia, built in Naples for King Philip II, was lost in 1597 at Ribadeo, Spain. During the 2018 season, researchers identified and mapped the location of the remains, and trenched to assess hull and cargo preservation. In 2019, investigators will trench the midship section and record the keel and mast step, to interpret and reconstruct the ship’s lines. The team will also record the ship’s components and fasteners, which are largely unknown for this period.

Sea Biscuit & Salted Beef Research Project (Bermuda)
Grace Tsai (Texas A&M University)

Previous attempts to gauge the nutritional value of shipboard diets were based on historical documentation instead of laboratory data. In this project, shipboard food was replicated using the exact ingredients and methods of preparation from the 17th century, including non-GMO ingredients, the exact species of plant or animal, and the same butchery methods and cuts of meat. Archaeological and historical data were used to replicate the salted pork and beef, ship biscuit, wine and beer, and other provisions aboard Warwick, an English race-built galleon that sank in 1619. Then, a trans-Atlantic voyage was simulated by storing the food in casks and keeping these on the tall ship Elissa for three months. In 2019, the project will focus on the nutritional and microbial analysis of the food. Learn more here: Sea Biscuit & Salted Beef Research Project.

Albania Ancient Shipwreck Excavation at Joni (Albania) – 2019 Claude Duthuit Archaeology Grant Recipient
Staci Willis (Houston Community College/INA)

The Joni wreck was one of several sites visited during the 2018 Albania Ancient Shipwreck survey in partnership with RPM Nautical Foundation. The wreck is tentatively dated to the 4th century AD and includes North African amphoras as well as an associated debris field. The team will explore the site to determine the range of artifacts present and assess the level of hull preservation, if any. The project is the recipient of the 2019 Claude Duthuit Archaeology Grant, and represents the first underwater shipwreck excavation undertaken in Albanian waters. ,

Ongoing Projects at INA’s Bodrum Research Center
In addition to the above projects, an impressive array of ongoing post-excavation research projects is based out of INA’s Bodrum Research Center in Turkey. Decades of INA surveys in Turkey have uncovered wrecks and cargoes dating from the Bronze Age to the Ottoman Empire. The most significant of these discoveries have rewritten the history books, adding a staggering volume of data to the archaeological record of ancient and medieval seafaring. Students and scholars from around the world work out of the Bodrum Research Center, where they  learn about the important discoveries INA has made with its Turkish partners.  In April 2019 the staff of INA’s Bodrum Research Center is pleased to welcome participants in the annual meeting of the German Society for the Promotion of Underwater Archaeology (DEGUWA).

Uluburun Late Bronze Age Shipwreck (Turkey)

Pabuç Burnu Archaic Greek Shipwreck (Turkey)

Tektaş Burnu Classical Greek Shipwreck (Turkey)

Kızılburun Late Hellenistic Column Wreck (Turkey)

Yassıada Byzantine Shipwreck (Turkey)

Bozburun Byzantine Shipwreck (Turkey)

Ertuğrul Ottoman Frigate (Japan and Turkey)