Anthropology's Ford Publishes on War of 1812 Shipwrecks

Posted on 3/16/2017 9:12:01 AM

Ben Ford (Anthropology) recently published an article, "The Sunken Vessels of Chauncey and Yeo in Lake Ontario," in the special edition of the journal Northeast Historical Archaeology.

The Chauncey and Yeo in the article title are Isaac Chauncey and Sir James Lucas Yeo, commanders of the American and British squadrons, respectively, on Lake Ontario during the War of 1812. The article, based on archaeology, documentary research, and published reports, summarizes what is known about the archaeological remains of these important ships. This is the first time that the disposition of all of the vessels has been published in a single location and is designed as a guide for future archaeological research.

Lake Ontario served as the gateway to the interior of North America during the early 19th century. Since control of the interior was one of the causes of the War of 1812, both America and Britain were very interested in dominating the lake. The result was essentially a cold war on the lake, with both sides building substantial squadrons with large ships, but very few actual engagements. At the end of the war the ships were sold, scrapped, or allowed to rot. Of the more than 50 vessels used on Lake Ontario, seven are known archaeological sites and another seven may still exist as an unidentified archaeological site.

The article was published in a special edition of Northeast Historical Archaeology focusing on the War of 1812. Portions of the research were supported by IUP Senate Research Small Grant and National Geographic/Waitt Grant.