Following the discovery of ship remains on Nantucket’s South Shore on Friday, December 2, Egan Maritime Institute is working closely with a group of scientists, historians, and archeologists to survey the site and finalize plans for a citizen science project.
Over the past few months, David Robinson, from the Massachusetts Board of Underwater Archeological Resources (BUAR), Mike Harrison from the Nantucket Historical Association and our team have been hard at work researching the wreckage. “As with most research of this kind, exploring the available evidence from the site’s archaeological remains and related historical literature, archives, and photographs to try to determine if the wreckage is from the schooner, Warren Sawyer, was a bit like pulling a thread on a sweater. The more information I looked at, the more that I found,” shares Robinson. Ultimately, Robinson’s report determines that based on the weight of available evidence that the vessel’s remains on Miacomet Beach are likely to be those of a relatively small section of Warren Sawyer's hull from its lower bow.
This past week, a new portion of the wreck was uncovered. “After speaking with BUAR, we believe this new discovery is a section of a hull from the lower stern, with a strong probability that it is another fragment of the Warren Sawyer. This site is about 1,000 feet west of the original wreck site found in December” states Evan Schwanfelder, Director of Education.
Moving forward, BUAR and Egan Maritime asks that anyone who visits the wreck site, please refrain from stepping on or disturbing it. “It is not in the best interest of the Island’s cultural and natural resources to excavate the wreck. Instead we ask that folks respect the wreck site and treat it as if it was in a museum. We can learn so much from observing these shipwreck materials and the ways in which they are impacted by shoreline change” shares Carlisle Jensen, EMI’s Executive Director. Egan is committed to working with BUAR, to monitor the wreck site as well as any other mysteries which may be hidden right under our feet. If you do come across any secrets under the sand, please contact BUAR and Egan Maritime Institute.
Over the next few weeks, Egan Maritime will be collaborating with our research partners to launch a citizen science program where community member can join us as we visit the site and learn more about the research process. “Nantucket’s history belongs to everyone, we want to create educational programs that involve the whole community and teach the next generation of Island residents to be thoughtful stewards of our beaches” shared Jensen.
Interested parties can listen to EMI’s two part Time & Tide podcast series on the wreck. Time & Tide is hosted and produced by Schwanfelder. The podcast recalls some of the most dramatic stories from Nantucket's seafaring past. Listeners will be riveted to tales that rise from the depths of despair to the peak of human hope and salvation. The most recent episode follows the research process from filing a BUAR report, to the ongoing archaeological research process, in hopes of solidifying the true identity of the remains.
The recent discovery only reaffirms our belief that so much Nantucket history is hidden right under our feet. There is so much to discover and Egan Maritime is excited to continue to work with BUAR to properly record and archive this wreck as well as any other archeological finds that might pop up as our coastline changes.
For more information about the shipwreck or to learn more about Egan, please call 508-228-2505.
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