Hello to anyone who may stumble upon this new blog, as well as friends, colleagues, and other interested parties. I have made this blog/site to help chronicle some exciting new research into the maritime cultural past of the early Chesapeake colonies. I am carrying out this research through the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology, under the supervision of Professor Jon Adams (Mary Rose, Sea Venture, Henry Grace’ Dieu, et al.) and advise of Professor Jon Oldfield.
The research is aimed gaining a better understanding of the role of merchant ship and port development throughout the seventeenth-century in the growth of the Chesapeake tobacco economy. At this time, Maryland and Virginia were the most prosperous colonies, and the tobacco producing colonies remained the most wealthy until the industrial revolution.
Throughout the life of this blog, I plan to update fairly frequently with new developments in my research. Perhaps the more exciting facet of this site though, will be the fieldwork section. I will be performing some underwater archaeological field work in the St. Mary’s River, MD, on a site thought by some to be the remains of a seventeenth-century merchant vessel. If this is the case, it will be the oldest ship remains known in the Chesapeake, and among the five oldest British sites of this type in North America. I do not yet know when fieldwork will begin, but ideally, this spring or summer. I will update daily during fieldwork, which is part of a collaborative study with Historic St. Mary’s City. The first season will be aimed at surveying the site, gathering data on its location in space, and a surface collection of diagnostic artifacts to provide a date/context for the site. The second season, if permits are granted, will be a limited excavation designed to gather ship dimensions, measure and test ballast, and identify other aspects of this ship. It should be very exciting when it gets off the ground.
So thanks for reading, and keep checking back for updates!