Anthropologist Ben Ford presented the 3rd Annual Studies in Nautical Traditions Keynote Lecture at Texas A&M University’s Shipwreck Weekend on April 6.
Each spring, the Nautical Archaeology Program (NAP) of the Department of Anthropology at Texas A&M University, along with its affiliated institutions, hosts "Shipwreck Weekend." This annual event is designed to promote the various projects of the program, as well as to inform the general public of aspects of nautical archaeology. Visitors are invited to explore nautical archaeology and learn about the ongoing research into ships and shipboard life at Texas A&M University.
The archaeological investigations sponsored and supported by the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology take place all over the world. Archaeological work is often a long process, involving months in the field and years of study, making much of the work inaccessible to the general public. Shipwreck Weekend breaks that tradition by bringing nautical archaeology to a local audience.
Ford delivered the evening’s keynote lecture and discussed his ongoing work searching for War of 1812 shipwrecks in Lake Ontario.
During the War of 1812, American and British shipbuilders at Sackets Harbor and Kingston produced more than 20 war ships for use on Lake Ontario, some carrying more than 100 cannons. But with the end of the war, these ships no longer had a purpose. Some were sold, some were scrapped, some wrecked, and some sank at anchor. Recent interdisciplinary work has endeavored to identify which of these ships remain to be found and to search for two of them in New York’s Black River Bay. The Black River Bay survey combined archaeological and geophysical techniques in an attempt to identify the remains of an armed barge and the frigate Mohawk.
Other presentations reported on the Godavaya shipwreck in Sri Lanka, colonial shipwrecks of Brazil, and Gurob Ship-Cart Model.