Fall 2003 Volume 30 No. 3
The INA Quarterly
Volume 30 No. 3 Fall 2003
Institute of Nautical Archaeology
P.O. Drawer HG
College Station, TX 77841-5137
3 Titanic 2003 Learn firsthand of the latest discov-
George F. Bass series in nautical archaeology. Mem-
bers receive the INA Quarterly and
10 Post-Excavation Techniques for Recording Ship Timbers other benefits.
Starr Cox and Katie Custer Researcher (students only).... 25
14 A Witness of Trafalgar: Seafarer ................. $75
The Cannon of the H.M.S. Agamemnon Surveyor ....................$150
Atilio Nasti and Hector Bado Restorer .................. $500
Curator ................. $1,000
18 Denbigh Exhibit Opens in Galveston Excavator. ................ $2,500
19 In Memoriam: Mendel L. Peterson Checks, in U.S. currency, should be made
payable to INA.
On the cover: The telemotor, or mount for the wheel, of R.M.S. Titanic-standing on the bridge under over 3700 meters
of seawater since April 15, 1912-was visited recently by INA Founder George F. Bass in the submersible Mir 2. Cour-
tesy of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
September 2003 by the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. All rights reserved.
INA welcomes requests to reprint INA Quarterly articles and illustrations. Articles for publication should be submitted in hard copy and on a 3.25
diskette (Macintosh, DOS, or Windows format acceptable) along with all artwork Please address all requests and submissions to the Editor, INA
Quarterly, P.O. Drawer HG, College Station, TX 77841-5137; tel (979) 845-6694, fax (979) 847-9260, e-mail powlrye@texasnet or email@example.com.
The Home Page for INA is at http:/ /ina.tamu.edu
The Institute of Nautical Archaeology is a non-profit scientific and educational organization, founded by George F Bass, Michael Katzev,
and Jack Kelly and incorporated in 1972. Since 1976, INAhas been affiliated with Texas A&M University, where INA faculty teach in the
Nautical Archaeology Program of the Department of Anthropology. The opinions expressed in Quarterly articles are those of the authors,
and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Institute.
The INA Quarterly was formerly the INA Newsletter (vols. 1-18).
Editor: Christine A. Powell
George F. Bass
Courtesy of NOAA
I was surprised and more than a little nervous when I received, from Captain Craig McLean, Director of
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Ocean Exploration, an invitation to dive on
the Titanic. It would be fascinating to assist NOAA in assessing the great ship's state and rate of decay. However,
the deepest I had ever been was three hundred feet (see "Yalikavak 1990," [NA Newsletter 17,4, 18-21). Titanic lies
two and a half miles-that's 12,460 feet!-beneath the North Atlantic. I was soon to learn that more people have
been in outer space, indeed to the top of Mount Everest in one month, than have ever been to the Titanic. Never-
theless, with permission from the Turkish Ministry of Culture, I left the Pabuc Burnu excavation in the very
capable hands of assistant director Mark Polzer and flew to Newfoundland.
With icebergs and
whales visible in the dis-
tance, we sailed from St.
John's on June 20, 2003,
aboard the Russian R/V Ak-
ademir Mstislav Keldysh, the
world's largest research
ship. I represented INA
among a seven-person team
headed by NOAA marine
archaeologist Jeremy Weir-
ich (fig. 1). Others were Na-
tional Park Service
archaeologist Larry Mur-
phy, whose continuing
study of the battleship Ari-
zona at Pearl Harbor has
made him especially knowl-
edgeable about the long-
term stability of iron hulls,
and Drs. Roy Cullimore and
Photo: L. Johnston
Fig. 1 (above). A postcard of Titanic signed by members of the
Fig. 2 (below). Rusticles on Titanic's hull.
Lori Johnston, microbiologists
who specialize in the study of
the microbes that eat iron and
form, at Titanic's depth, huge
brown things like stalactites
that were dubbed "rusticles"
by Robert Ballard when he
located the wreck (fig. 2).
Both Roy and Lori were re-
turning to Titanic, Lori for
her fifth visit. Rounding out
the team were Laura Rear,
Knauss Sea Grant Fellow at
NOAA, who had taken care
of the logistics of the mis-
sion, and Craig McLean,
himself, whose impressive
background includes not
only degrees in zoology and
law, but two years as a pro-
fessional helmet diver.
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 3. R/V Akademik Mstislav Keldysh is the
world's largest research ship.
Fig 4. One of the Mir submersibles being prepared
for launch from Keldysh.
rnoco: J. vvencn
Fig. 5. The Mir submersibles are two of only four
vessels in the world capable of visiting Titanic,
rnoco: -ourresy K/ V &etaysn
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 6 (left). Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch in a casual moment.
Fig 7 (above). A "cowboy" leaps onto one of the submersibles to remove the
lowering cable from Keldyshfor a trip to Titanic.
The Keldysh carries Mir 1 and Mir 2, two of four
submersibles in the world capable of diving as deep as
Titanic (figs. 3 and 4). Each cost $20 million. They usu-
ally dive together, about an hour apart. No one said it
explicitly, but I think part of the reason for this is safe-
ty, for one sub, with its manipulators, can help untan-
gle the other should it become entrapped by cables or
twisted metal. These were the subs James Cameron used
in the films Titanic, and Ghosts of the Abyss, and which
presumably he will use again (fig. 5). He was paying
for much of our voyage in order that some of his team,
on board with us, could dive on the actual Titanic.
Dr. Anatoly Sagalevitch is the driving force be-
hind Keldysh and the Mirs. Since the collapse of the So-
viet Union, under which all three vessels were built, he
has had to depend on private sources to fund their op-
eration-indeed, to fund all of the oceanographic re-
search conducted from Keldysh. He thus often uses them
for projects like the one I was on, or for filming, or even
for taking paying passengers to Titanic for $36,000 a
dive. I became highly impressed by Anatoly's entrepre-
neurship and his humanity (fig. 6).
On our first morning over the wreck, the crew of
Keldysh, using GPS coordinates, dropped four transpon-
ders around Titanic. Every other day for the next ten
days the Mirs would navigate within this "box" with
seeming ease. I was scheduled to be on the last dive.
There were many books and videos about Titanic
on board, so I spent the time before my dive becoming
completely familiar with the story of the ship and what
has happened to her since she was discovered. Weath-
er for all ten days we were over the wreck was incredi-
ble, with little wind and only small waves (fig. 7). Early
one morning I stood alone on deck, staring at the calm
sea, thinking about the fact that one night in 1912, ex-
actly at this place, over 1,500 people in life jackets were
calling for help, drowning, or freezing to death.
On the day of my dive, June 29, I felt like an as-
tronaut as I walked the corridor to the Mir laboratory
in my blue, fireproof jump suit. I had taken pictures
and videos of earlier launches and retrievals so was
ready for my dive. Up the ladder, off with shoes, and
down inside a steel sphere seven feet in diameter (fig.
I was joined by Craig McLean, followed by Vic-
tor Nischcheta, our Russian pilot, who speaks little En-
glish. Then we were lifted up and out by a huge crane
(we weighed 18 tons) and set in the water (fig. 9), where
a Russian "cowboy" leapt from a Zodiac onto the top of
the Mir to unhook us from the crane and hook us to a
INA Quarterly 30.3
launch, the Koresh (slang for "comrade,"
meaning something like "Pal", I guess, in
Russian), which towed us clear of the Keldy-
sh (fig. 10).
We then began our two-and-a-half-hour
descent. I was understandably excited when
we passed 1,000 meters, but we eventually
reached 4,790 meters. The incredible exterior
lights then went on. Almost immediately I saw
a large soup tureen, and then dozens or hun-
dreds of wine bottles in the positions they had
held in wooden cases nine decades ago, fol-
lowed by a bathtub. I became more emotion-
ally involved when I saw a woman's
high-topped shoe lying alone on the seabed.
We in Mir 2 then began, in sixteen con-
trolled passes, a four-hour program of video-
taping the badly mangled stern of Titanic for
a photomosaic which should serve as a database against
which future damage from age, visitors, and/or remotely
operated salvage equipment can be measured. Kneeling
before a central port about eight inches in diameter, Victor
operated the Mir with intense concentration, often glanc-
ing quickly at an internal compass to be sure we were on
line (fig. 11). Craig, using coordinates from the invisible
Fig. 8 (top right). Dr. Bass boarding Mir 2for his trip to Titanic
Fig. 9 (below). The submersible being lowered from the deck into
transponder "box" in which we operated, guided Victor to
the starting point for each of the sixteen parallel passes,
and then, reading from a digital monitor, recorded on pa-
per at timed intervals our exact position. Similarly, so that
Victor would not be distracted by keeping track of too many
gauges, Craig routinely read aloud our depth from anoth-
er monitor, letting us know that we were staying at exactly
Fig. 10 (right). A "cowboy" riding Mir while it is towed clear ofKeldysh.
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 11 (left). Victor Nischcheta checking the in-
struments on Mir 2.
Fig. 12 (below). Titanic's bow railing seen through
a Mir viewport
Photo: G.F Bass
Fig. 13 (above). A sonar image of Titanic's bow.
Fig. 14 (right). Roy Cullimore studies Titanic rus-
ticles through his viewport.
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 15. The brass mountingfor Titanic's wheel. Fig. 16. Titanic's side, as seen from the submersible.
3,783 meters. Sometimes I spelled Craig by reading our
depth aloud. At other times I lay on my stomach on my
bench, following our progress and occasionally photo-
graphing through my smaller, starboard port. My view
was partly blocked by the Mir's externally mounted
cameras and lights (fig. 12), however, so I sometimes
lay on my back in order to watch incredibly clear imag-
es of the wreckage on a Sony video monitor mounted
in the stern of the cabin.
I was never nervous. Time flew. When we moved
toward Titanic's bow (fig. 13), Victor pointed to Mir I's
lights as the other sub passed us, taking our place at
the stern. Traffic two and a half miles beneath the sea!
Lori Johnston and Jeremy Weirich were in the other sub,
which had preceded us down by about an hour, pilot-
ed by Anatoly Sagalevitch.
The debris field of several hundred meters be-
tween the stern and the bow of Titanic, which broke in
IMoto: _. MCLean
Fig. 17. The crew ofMir 2 eats lunch two miles deep in the North Atlantic.
INA Quarterly 30.3
two as she sank, has been legally picked over by the
salvors, RMST Inc., which raised several thousand arti-
facts that have been seen by millions of people and are
now on display in England. Still, many plates and oth-
er objects remain in this area. The salvors are forbidden
by law to sell anything, I am told, or to take anything
from inside the ship, itself.
Then we arrived at the bow, which is magnifi-
cent, stunning-and unimaginably huge (Rose and Jack
no longer stood there!). It was impossible to look on
without becoming pensive about the tragedy enacted
here (fig. 14). We saw the mast from which the fatal ice-
berg had been spotted, and the brass mounting for the
ship's wooden wheel (fig. 15, cover). But we did not
linger. There was work to be done. We began to make a
video mosaic of the starboard side of this section of the
wreck, often in a controlled drift aft from the bow in
the current (fig. 16).
The lights of the sub-
mersible were so
bright I could see from
the top of the ship to the
seabed many feet be-
low, where the bow had
dug into the sediment to
a depth of fifty feet.
Most of the portholes
still have their glass in
place. Several were
open, as if someone had
just looked outside to
see what was happen-
ing ninety years be-
I could not re-
sist: I had taken down
from the ship's library
a paperback copy of
Clive Cussler's Raise
the Titanic, and spent a
few seconds posed as if
reading it with Titanic's
hull just outside the
Mir's starboard port
behind my shoulder. I
hope that Clive, who
has made his own
mark in underwater
archaeology, gets a
kick out of the photo.
At that depth,
the pressure is three
tons per square inch. Like most of the others, I put a
few Styrofoam cups on the outside of one of the Mirs,
one cup inscribed to INA in College Station. Crushed
hard and now scarcely larger than a thimble, it sits on a
shelf in Donny Hamilton's office as a souvenir of INA's
Six hours on the bottom passed like minutes. Vic-
tor had provided sandwiches for lunch on the way
down (fig. 17). Now, as we started up, he offered hot
tea and biscuits. Later, in various positions, the three
of us used the large plastic bottles that were under
Craig's seat for their special purpose.
We came up after dark in a dense fog. After elev-
en hours in the Mir, we flopped around for about half
an hour more before we felt that we were under tow by
Koresh back to Keldysh. Then it was back up onto the
deck (fig. 18), and hugs all around (especially from Ana-
toly, who had preceded
us up in Mir 1), fol-
lowed by dinner that
had been saved for
Craig and me in the din-
ing room. With most of
the NOAA team around
us, we made a toast with
Russian vodka to our
Then two full
days back to St. Pierre
(how many people
know that there are
two tiny, tiny French
islands only a few
miles south of New-
foundland), an over-
night, and then back to
St. John's by a small
charter jet. It was quite
On our way
back from Turkey in
August, Ann and I vis-
ited Ireland, where we
visited Cobh, Titanic's
last port of call-then
her only, tragic voyage.
In just one summer I
had seen the beginning
and end of one of the
most famous voyages
in history. --
Photo: J. Weirich
Fig. 18. Dr. Bass's Mir dive lasted eleven hours and ended after dark.
INA Quarterly 30.3
Post-Excavation Techniques for Recording Ship Timbers
Starr Cox and Katie Custer
The 2001 and 2002 field seasons in Lisbon, Portu-
gal, have provided invaluable research opportunities to
graduate students in the Nautical Archaeology Program
(NAP) and the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at
Texas A&M University, thanks to the initiative of Dr. Fil-
ipe Castro and the support of Dr. Kevin Crisman. Through
the Centro Nacional de Arqueologia Nautica e SubaquAtica
(CNANS), created in 1997 as a division of the Instituto
Portugu&s de Arqueologia (IPA), students were able to
work with and learn from the premier Portuguese under-
water archaeologists. Under the guidance of Francisco
Alves, director of CNANS, and Paulo Jorge Rodrigues,
principal investigator of the Cais do Sodr6 wreck, the team
gained experience in recording dehydrated ship timbers
The wreck, dating to the fifteenth or sixteenth cen-
tury, was uncovered in Lisbon's Cais do Sodrd subway
station in 1995. It is presumed to belong to the Iberian ship-
building tradition and is probably Portuguese. Accord-
ing to a personal communication from Paulo Jorge
Rodrigues, the tentative identification of nationality was
based on construction details, while the age was deter-
mined by carbon dating wood samples. Some construc-
tion features suggest a later date than the initial
fifteenth-century estimates. Therefore, the carbon dating
is currently being repeated. Two new laboratories will test
two new sets of wood samples that reflect these construc-
tion features. Considering the relatively lim-
ited knowledge of Iberian ships from the Age
of Discovery, the recovery of a well-preserved
ship from this period is of considerable im-
portance and an exciting prospect for the re-
The 2001 team of INA/NAP students
included Katie Custer, P. Erik Flynn, Gusta-
vo Garcia, Erika Laanela, Anthony G. Ran-
dolph, and Carrie Sowden. The main directive
was to record the frames from the Cais do
Sodr6 wreck. Due to the muddy, landlocked
conditions under which the ship was exca-
vated and the lack of suitable storage facili-
ties at the time of the excavation, it was
decided to keep the timbers in dry storage.
CNANS inherited the timbers in a dehydrat-
ed state. This created challenges for the team
recording and reconstructing the ship due to
problems of shrinkage and distortion. In an Fig. 1. P.
attempt to counter these problems, the tim- ingof their
bers were placed in a storage tank of fresh water to rehy-
drate before documentation. The rehydration of the tim-
bers, however, could not completely restore the original
state of the frames.
Using a forklift, the frames were transported onto
a custom-designed table for recording. An accurate grid
was permanently engraved into the plexiglass that cov-
ered the length of the table. Once the frame was situated
and aligned on the grid, the recording process began. The
main constructional details recorded were general dimen-
sions, fastener holes, dovetail scarfs, tool marks, and
carved numbers indicating redesigned frames. The fas-
tener holes measured one to three centimeters in diame-
ter, and the openings were square or round in shape. The
futtocks were attached to the frames by dovetail joints,
which were found on most of the complete timbers. Tool
marks left by the original shipbuilders included saw marks
and divots created by chisels. The predetermined frames
were numbered with Roman numerals I-XVIII on their
design faces. As common in the Iberian shipbuilding tra-
dition, the design faces are those which face the master
frame. In other words, the numbers were engraved on the
forward faces of the after frames, and the after faces of the
The keel and keelson faces of each timber were
drawn at 1:10 scale using the scaled plexiglass, plastic tri-
angles, and metric rulers. Offsets were taken every ten cen-
Photo: F. Castro
Erik Flynn takes measurements for a 1:10 scale perspective draw-
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 2. Anthony Randolph makes final touches on
a 1:10 scale perspective drawing of a keel face.
rnoro: r. Lastro
timeters to obtain the overall shape and size of the frame,
creating a perspective drawing (fig. 1). Detailed features
were then recorded (fig. 2). In addition to the 1:10 scale
drawings, 1:1 scale drawings of these faces were created
by attaching plastic film directly to the frame and outlin-
ing the features. The forward and aft faces were also re-
corded at 1:1 scale, but using different techniques. A
plexiglass table was built (without the grid) that stood
roughly two feet above the ground. Plastic film was at-
tached to the surface of the table and the table was placed
over the timber lengthwise (fig. 3).
Using a device incorporating an indelible pen and
a laser pointer, the shape of the timber was traced onto
the plastic film (fig. 4). The pen was housed in a block of
wood with a lip in which the laser pointer was situated.
The pen was aligned to accurately mark the spot created
by the laser pointer on the table. The laser was then used
to trace the timber and its features. This device saves valu-
able time and helps diminish parallax errors. It also per-
mits one to draw a continuous line around the timber while
being assured that the representation is accurate in spite
of the height of the table. This process allowed for the ex-
pedient documentation of the frames.
The 2002 team comprised NAP students Starr Cox,
Katie Custer, P. Erik Flynn, Gustavo Garcia, and Sara
Hoskins. The primary goal for the 2002 season was to com-
plete the 1:10 drawings of the forward and aft faces from
the 1:1 drawings completed the previous season. Upon
completion, all drawings, including the 1:10 upper and
lower face drawings from the previous season, were dou-
Fig. 3. Paulo Jorge Rodrigues and Carrie Sowden
gather materials needed to record the ship timbers.
Photo: F. Castro
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 4. Gustavo Garcia uses the pen and laser de-
vice to trace the surface of a timber.
ble-checked against the actual timbers. Lastly, the draw-
ings were given to Dr. Filipe Castro who produced the
final inked versions. In conjunction with the drawings of
the forward and aft faces, a photographic record of all car-
penters' marks was prepared.
The recording of the forward and aft faces was com-
pleted using the same basic methodology as the previous
year, but with slightly different techniques. The 1:10 per-
spective drawings of the upper and lower faces had to be
drawn viewing the actual timber. The objective of the 2002
season was to produce a set of scaled-down drawings of
the forward and aft faces using the previous 1:1 drawings
made in 2001. This helped to limit the amount of damage
to the frames from handling and drying out. Information
is lost each time the timber is exposed to a different envi-
ronment, as well as through the stress of transportation.
The 1:1 drawings prepared on plastic film were laid out
on the same plexiglass grids used earlier, and using a tri-
angle, measurements were taken every ten centimeters
(fig. 5). These were then plotted onto millimetric grid pa-
per (fig. 6). If we had been back in College Station, we
would have digitized the 1:1 drawings on a digitizing ta-
ble directly into AutoCAD. We could then have printed
them out at any scale we desired.
Checking the drawings against the timbers proved
to be highly rewarding. A year's worth of submersion in
fresh water resulted in a cleansing of the timbers, and new
features were uncovered, including additional carpenters'
marks and nail holes. Also, there were only a few minor
discrepancies between all the drawings and all the tim-
bers, which gave everyone the satisfaction of a job well
Fig. 5. Sara Hoskins lines up an existing 1:1 scale
drawing on a grid in preparation for reducing the
drawing to 1:10 scale.
X- ".- -.-..
-i7. E-~ ---*- r
P t Cs
Photo: F Castro
INA Quarterly 30.3
Overall, the project was successfully completed due
to the contributions of the INA and CNANS teams. The
guidance provided by Francisco Alves and Paulo Jorge Ro-
drigues gave the INA students the tools and support need-
ed to accomplish the project goals, as well as, valuable skills
that can be utilized on future projects. Given the time con-
straints imposed on each field season, the drawings were
completed in the best possible sequence. The 1:1 drawings
serve as a permanent record of the timbers and their fea-
tures, while the 1:10 drawings function as working copies
for analysis. Rechecking the drawings against the actual
timber after a long period of wet storage proved to be very
valuable in exposing new information. The process of re-
cording dehydrated timbers post-excavation was construc-
tive to both the students and the researchers. The condition
of the wreck and the problems inherent in the excavation
led to a unique set of circumstances, as with all archaeolog-
ical studies of shipwrecks. These proved to be an important
learning tool. The experience gained will help all parties in
future excavations involving landlocked nautical sites. ,
Fig. 6. Starr Cox and Gustavo Garcia create 1:10 scale drawings from existing 1:1
INA Quarterly 30.3
A Witness of Trafalgar:
The Cannon of the H.M.S. Agamemnon
Atilio Nasti, Scientific Director, and Hector Bado, Director of Operations,
Maldonado Bay Underwater Archaeological Project
" Without exception, one of the best Sixty-fours in service, with the
particularity of navigating extremely well"
Captain Horatio Nelson
For many years, the exact place where Admiral
Lord Nelson's favorite ship-the famous H.M.S. Agamem-
non-had sunk was uncertain. Documents located it
near the coast of the Bay of Maldonado in Uruguay, but
its exact position was forgotten. A stroke of luck en-
abled Hector Bado and Sergio Pronczuk, two profes-
sional divers and historians, to find the remains of a
shipwreck three hundred meters to the east of the place
where Agamemnon was believed to have sunk on June
16, 1809. The location of several dozen copper objects,
parts of the bilge pumps with the "broad arrow" sym-
bol of the British Navy stamped on them, confirmed the
discovery. Since the shipwreck was rediscovered in
1993, it has been surveyed and many artifacts recov-
ered. Mensun Bound of Oxford University has made a
Among the recovered objects was a twenty-four-
pounder iron cannon. This is one of the most important
items found in the shipwreck. The cannon is 3.10 m long
and weighs 2450 kilograms (fig. 1). A crown and the mono-
gram of George ID are clearly seen on the surface. The gun
number "20" and the broad arrow are also visible. As far
as we know, this is the only surviving British cannon that
was actually used at the Battle of Trafalgar.
INA Quarterly 30.3
Fig. 1. The twenty-four pounder cannon recovered from the wreck Phto: H. Bado
of H.M.S. Agamemnon.
Fig. 2. (right) The 1804 ordnance list from Agamemnon. r ,,.
H.M.S. Agamemnon 4A., .,Ay ,,
The warship H.M.S. Agamemnon was built in 1777 z, r.
at Buckler's Hard shipyard near Portsmouth. Built under o 'a Y
the direction of Henry Adams in accordance with the plans B ..
of the memorable naval designer Sir Thomas Slade, Ag- 7 d .J '"
amemnon belonged to the "Ardent" class, whose plans are
kept in the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich. It a so 2
was the third in a series of seven sister ships. Copies of '9, c ,
the plans are exhibited in the Marine Museum of Buck- ,, 1 ,
ler's Hard in Beaulieu, as well as in the National Histori- / /
cal Museum and the National Marine Museum of n '
Montevideo. ; 6
Agamemnon displaced 1384 tons, and was 49 meters 1 .
long, with 13.5 m beam, and 6.5 m draft. The ship carried I/ G ., / 2 0, S
sixty-four guns and was known as a "third rate," in accor- / / .
dance with an order of the Admiralty in 1653, because of . "
the position that it occupied in the line of battle. Accord- 25. If 2
ing to the ordnance manifest, H.M.S. Agamemnon had the T" / 7 a ,
following armament: 2 -~. 2, 'ia /
Main deck, 26 24-pounder guns z s.ty, / 4
Upper deck, 26 18-pounder guns / o0 :..
Maincastle, 10 9-pounder guns.
Forecastle, 2 9-pounder guns.
Total guns, 64.
Total carronades, 12 24-pounders
Total armament weight, 144.5 tons. Photo: Her Majesty's Public Record Office, London
INA Quarterly 30.3
-- FIRST NFORE --- -SECOND REINFORCE- CHASC
VI Smm/ S ii *rc.
L-hoto: H. Bado
Fig. 3. The conserved Agamemnon twenty-four pound cannon.
The original Agamemnon ordnance list from September 1804
(fig. 2), before Trafalgar, clearly includes cannon number
Agamemenon participated in numerous battles, from
Ushant in 1781 until the blockade of Lisbon in 1807. Cap-
tain Horatio Nelson commanded Agamemnon from 1793
to 1796. He considered the warship to be "without excep-
tion, the best Sixty-four in service." At Trafalgar (October
21, 1805), Sir Edward Berry commanded the ship. In 1808,
Agamemnon was dispatched to be part of the Royal Navy's
South American squadron based in Rio de Janeiro. After
an initial visit to the Rio de la Plata that year, the ship re-
turned in June 1809.
Inadequate maintenance for tropical conditions
weakened the hull and Agamemnon sank north of Gorriti
Island in Maldonado Bay on June 16. Two days later, Cap-
tain Jonas Rose was ordered to recover what could be sal-
vaged. When this operation finished in November 1809,
the ship was abandoned.
Treatment of the Cannon
Because of its unique significance as a Trafalgar sur-
vivor from Nelson's favorite command, preservation of the
Agamemnon cannon was imperative. It was found at a depth
of 8.5 m. At the suggestion of expert conservators, the gun
was transferred to the port of Punta del Este and left in
two m of water to begin decompression. After three
months, personnel of the Naval National Prefecture trans-
ferred it to a facility in the Port of Montevideo.
When deposited on the sea bottom, a ferrous metal
artifact is quickly colonized by marine organisms that build
a compound external skeleton. This concretion forms a bar-
rier between the iron metal and the environment that sur-
rounds it, creating a micro-environment that stabilizes the
corrosion. This phenomenon appears to remain constant
with time across a variety of environments and geograph-
Chlorine ions that diffuse into the metal from the
salt-water environment greatly accelerate corrosion once
the artifact is exposed to atmospheric oxygen. Therefore,
the biggest task in stabilizing iron artifacts is to stop this
natural process of corrosion by removing the chlorine. The
electrolysis process used by most conservation laborato-
ries uses an electric current to reduce the iron oxide
FeO(OH) to Fe'O4, and draws the negatively charged chlo-
rine ions out of the metal.
In a first treatment stage, the marine concretions
were mechanically removed. This allowed the electrolysis
process to act on the original surface in order to reach the
iron body. The cannon was then deposited in the center of
a steel tank for electrolysis treatment with enough space
for the anodes (positive electrodes) to be placed at a dis-
tance that did not exceed twenty cm from the border of the
tank. It was then filled with a solution of distilled water
and sodium hydroxide (NaOH) at a five percent concen-
tration. The electrodes (the anodes and the cannon itself as
the cathode) were fed with a four-volt DC power source at
an average of 0.005 amp/cm.
This electrolysis process was applied for almost for-
ty-eight months, alternating with rest periods. Intermit-
tent application of the voltage helped control the evolution
of gases and avoided the possible damage to small details
INA Quarterly 30.3
on the original surface of the cannon. Regular monitoring
of the chlorine content in the solution showed when the
solution needed to be changed.
Treatment of the bore began during November and
December of 2001. A drill was custom built with the appro-
priate diameter to clear out the concretion, then cleaning was
completed by electrolysis. Conservation was completed when
the last eighty cm of the bore had been cleaned.
After removal from the electrolysis tank and rins-
ing, the cannon was brushed with non-abrasive tools and
dried with several baths of acetone, then placed in an envi-
ronment with a temperature of forty degrees Celsius for
twenty-four hours in order to evaporate the acetone re-
mains. Finally, the gun was coated with two layers of poly-
urethane protectant (figs 3 and 4).
Although we could have opted for a shorter-term
treatment by using chemical cleaning, this could have cre-
ated an unnecessary risk to a unique artifact. Therefore,
the H.M.S. Agamemnon cannon was conserved using the stan-
dard protocol for stabilizing cast iron marine artifacts. As is
wise with all cast iron artifacts, the cannon is stored in a dry
atmosphere, where the weather cannot affect it. It will be
monitored periodically to check for any alteration of its sur-
face. As part of the regular maintenance of the artifact, the
curators will regularly check its stability, so that they can
detect and treat any initial points of corrosion. a
Photo: H. Bado
Fig. 4. Detail of the markings on the Agamemnon cannon.
1998 Agamemnon, La passion guerrera de Lord Nelson. Ed. Aguilar
1997 Basic Methods of Conserving Underwater Archaeological Materials Culturals. Nautical Archaeological Program.
Department of Anthropology Texas A&M University.
1987 Proyecto de rescate del pecio del navio "Agamemnon." (In preparation).
2001 HMS Agamemnon. www.subarch.com
INA Quarterly 30.3
Denbigh Exhibit Opens
Image: A. Hall
The INA exploration of the Confederate blockade runner Denbigh (INA Quarterly 26.2, 3-12) has, from the first,
contained an important public education component. This was most recently shown through an exhibit at the Galveston
County Historical Museum that opened during the popular ArtWalk on Saturday, October 25,2003, and will run until
April 17, 2004. As was pointed out by Museum Director Christy Carl, the exhibit expresses the close historical connec-
tion between Galveston and Denbigh, which made six successful runs into the port before running aground on May 23,
1865, the eve of the fall of the city to Union forces.
Denbigh's repeated voyages from Cuba, first to Mobile and later to Galveston, made it among the most success-
ful of all the ships that supplied the Confederacy with essential supplies. The shipwreck site on Bird Key, a shoal near
the southern tip of the Bolivar Peninsula, was almost forgotten until the INA survey and excavation began in 1997.
Many of the most interesting finds were installed in the Museum between October 13 and the opening. There are three
parts to the exhibit. Two galleries of the south section of the Museum are devoted to the Denbigh artifacts, the west
section has an exhibit on nautical archaeology and the Denbigh Project, while the east section houses a display on
Galveston and the nation in the Civil War period.
The connecting rod that transmitted energy from one of the engines to its paddlewheel is among the largest
items on display. Others include the Denbigh doll (INA Quarterly 29.1, 33), pottery sherds and other ceramics, a lead pig,
spoons, a coconut shell and conch shell, spoons, wine bottles, and a single enigmatic rose stem. Among the other items
on display are registration and builder's papers, cargo manifests, Denbigh's schedule, Civil War newspapers, a diver's
suit, and a personal computer with an educational program. The exhibit contains discussions of the history of Galveston
in the Civil War period, with its important role as a port for blockade runners, placing the runners in context as the
lifeline of the Confederacy. The design and engineering of Denbigh, as reflected in both historical records and the
archaeological remains, forms another important subject of the exhibit. A final focus is the archaeological work that has
restored the history of Denbigh to its proper visibility in the historical record.
Acknowledgments: The Denbigh wreck is now in the custody of the Texas Historical Commission, which assisted INA
archaeologists in the preparation of the exhibit. The newspapers are on loan from Lew Fincher and Andy Hall. The
Galveston County Historical Museum, located at 2219 Market Street, is a joint project of Galveston County Commis-
sioners Court and Galveston Historical Foundation. For further information, call Christy Carl at (409) 766-2340 or
INA Quarterly 30.3
Mendel L. Peterson
The pioneer underwater archaeologist Mendel L. Peterson, 85, died July 30 at his home in McLean,
Virginia. He was best known for his work at the Smithsonian Institution from 1948 to 1973. He served there
as Curator of the Division of Historic Archaeology, Head Curator and Chairman of the Department of
Armed Forces History, and Curator of the Department of History, among other positions.
For twenty-five summers, beginning in the late 1950s, Mr. Peterson was personally involved in un-
derwater archeological surveys and excavations around Bermuda, the West Indies, the Caribbean, and the
Florida Straits. George Bass asked him to write the chapter on "Traders and Privateers across the Atlantic:
1492-1733" for A History of Seafaring, published in 1972. Most of what was known on the subject at the time
is compressed into eleven pages. As Dr. Bass recently remarked, it is amazing how much more archaeolo-
gists and historians know now. In large part, the discipline owes much of its current knowledge to the
impetus Mendel Peterson gave to New World nautical archaeology.
He was the first to identify a shipwreck discovered off the coast of Bermuda in 1956 as San Pedro, a
Spanish merchant ship that sank while returning from Mexico in 1596. He was also involved in the explora-
tion of San Antonio, a four-hundred-ton ship that ran onto a reef in 1621 while on the same route, and several
other Bermuda wrecks. Mr. Peterson was instrumental in the Highborn Key excavation in the Bahamas
sponsored by the National Geographic Society.
Mendel Peterson always sought to disillusion potential treasure hunters. "If a wreck is in shallow
water," he said in 1958, "the chances of treasure on it are practically nil. ... The Spaniards almost always
knew where the ships sank, and they had native divers salvage the gold and silver." He recognized that the
real treasures on most shipwrecks were the everyday objects that could provide a precisely dated cross-
section of contemporary material culture.
Mendel Peterson had an unlikely start for a nautical archaeologist. After receiving a master's degree
in English from Vanderbilt University, he served as an educational adviser to the Civilian Conservation
Corps until he enlisted in the Navy in 1943. His official duties were as a supply officer. After the war, he
studied textile engineering in a naval graduate school, and then designed and tested foul weather gear in
Antarctica and on an icebreaker. However, during the war he had laid the groundwork for his future career
by diving on wrecks in the Pacific Theater. Those initial dives with old Navy equipment led him to apply for
his first position with the Smithsonian.
Besides his fieldwork and his curation tasks at the Institution, Mr. Peterson conducted extensive
research in the archives and collections of America and the former colonial powers. This led to numerous
articles in National Geographic and other publications, as well as two books, History under the Sea and Funnel
of Gold. With two colleagues in 1958, he traced the course of the first voyage to America of Christopher
Columbus, concluding that the first landing was in the Caicos Islands, not on the island two hundred miles
to the west that is now called San Salvador, which is generally considered to be the landing site.
After his retirement from the Smithsonian, Mr. Peterson continued an active career as a consultant
and lecturer. In 1994, he identified the resting place of USS Kearsarge, which sank the Confederate raider
Alabama in 1864 and later wrecked on a reef east of Nicaragua.
Mr. Peterson is survived by his wife, Gertrude Auvil Peterson of McLean, Virginia, and three chil-
dren: Victoria Peterson-Weitzel of Laurel, Virginia, LaNelle Spencer of Jackson, Wyoming, and Mendel L.
Peterson Jr. of Salt Lake City.
INA Quarterly 30.3
INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY
Christine A. Powell
Donny L. Hamilton, Ph.D., President*
Donald A. Frey, Ph.D., Vice President* Cemal M. Pulak, Ph.D., Vice President
Claudia F LeDoux, Chief Accounting Officer and Assistant Secretary
Michelle Chmelar, Assistant Accounting Officer
William L. Allen
John H. Baird
George F. Bass, Ph.D.,
Edward O. Boshell, Jr., Chai.rman'
John A. Brock
Elizabeth L. Bruni
Allan Campbell, M.D.
William C. Culp, M.D.
Robin P. Hartmann
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
John Cassils, M D. Charles Johnson, Ph.D.4
Gregory M. Cook Mustafa Koq
Lucy Darden Francine LeFrak-Friedberg
Thomas F. Darden' Robert E. Lorton
John De Lapa Alex G. Nason
Claude Duthuit' George E. Robb, Jr.
Danielle J. Feeney' Lynn Baird Shaw
Robert Gates, Ph.D. Ayhan Sicimoklu'
James A. Goold, J.D.
Secretary & General Counsell
Faith D. Hentschel, Ph.D. Thomas McCasland, Jr.
Susan Katzev Dana F. McGinnis
William C. Klein, M.D. Michael Plank
George Lodge Molly Reily
J. Richard Steffy
William T. Sturgis
Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr., Ph.D.'
Robert L. Walker, Ph.D.'
Peter M. Way. Vice-Chairman'
Carry A. Weber
George 0. Yamini
Sally M. Yamini
Betsey Boshell Todd
NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY PROGRAM FACULTY
Deborah N. Carlson, M.A., Assistant Professor
Filipe Castro, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Frederick R. Mayer Faculty Fellow of Nautical Archaeology
Kevin J. Crisman, Ph.D., Nautical Archaeology Faculty Fellow
Donny L. Hamilton, Ph.D., George T. & Gladys H. Abell Professor of Nautical Archaeology, George O. Yamini Family Professor of Liberal Arts
Cemal M. Pulak, Ph.D., Frederick R. Mayer Professor of Nautical Archaeology
C. Wayne Smith, Ph.D., Assistant Professor and INA Faculty Fellow
Shelley Wachsmann, Ph.D., Meadows Associate Professor of Biblical Archaeology
NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY PROGRAM FACULTY EMERITUS
George F Bass, PhD.,
George T. & Gladys H. Abell Professor of Nautical Archaeology, George O. Yamini Family Professor of Liberal Arts, Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Frederick H. van Doorninck, Jr, Ph.D.. Frederick R. Mayer Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
J. Richard Steffy, Sara W. & George O. Yamini Professor of Nautical Archaeology, Emeritus
Mr. & Mrs. Ray H. Siegfried II Graduate Fellow:
Marian M Cook Graduate Fellows: Peter D. Fix
J. Barto Arnold, M.A., Texas Operations Tufan U. Turanh, INA Bodrum Research Center
Aye Atauz, M.A.
Kroum N. Batchvarov, M.A.
Donald G. Ceddes I
Arthur Cohn, J.D.
Nergis Ginsenin, Ph.D.
Jerome L. Hall, Ph.D.
Australian Institute of Maritime Archae
Bryn Mawr College
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cincinnati
Jeremy Green, M.A. Maria del Plar Luna Erreguerian
Justin Leidwanger John McManamon, Ph.D.
Margaret E. Leshikar-Denton, Ph.D Ralph K. Pedersen, M.A.
Faith D. Hentschel, Ph.D. Frederick Hocker, Ph.D
Fredrik T. Hiebert, Ph.D. Carolyn G. Koehler, Ph.D.
,ology Coming Museum of Glass Partners f<
Departamento de Arqueologia Subacudtica de Uruversity
la LN.AH., Mexico Texas A&l
University of Maryland, Baltimore County RPM Nau
New York University Institute of Fine Arts Texas A&l
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill The Unive
INSTITUTE OF NAUTICAL ARCHAEOLOGY STAFF
Adel Farouk Sheila D. Matthews, M.A.
Zafer Gill Sheree Moore
Bilge GtineSdogdu Asaf Oron, M.A.
Thomas Kahlau Muammer Ozdemir
Gilser Kazancloglu Robin C. M. Piercy
Nurgil Kulah Sikran Senyiiz
Brett A. Phaneuf
Athena Trakadas, M.A.
Jeff Royal, Ph.D.
Cheryl Ward, Ph.D.
Gordon P. Watts, Jr., Ph.D.
or Livable Places
Museum, University of Pennsylvan
v Research Foundation
*rsity of Texas at Austin
A. Feyyaz Subay
Gi nes YaSar