Monday, April 07, 2008

Archaeologists Dive Cape Danger Wreckage for Bronze Cannon

Shipwreck Investigator Steve Lloyd is set to head up the archaeological expedition charged with raising a 140-year-old bronze howitzer from the sunken wreckage of the Torrent - in the icy cold waters of Dangerous Cape.

Less than six months after surfacing from the 140-year-old wreckage of the Torrent, diver and shipwreck hunter Steve Lloyd was ready to head back under the icy cold waters of Dangerous Cape to bring up a fairly significant artifact from the 641-ton U.S. Army ship. State and federal archeologists [sic], along with a shipwreck consultant, have joined Lloyd's shipwreck discovery team to attempt to raise the ship's bronze howitzer cannon to the water's surface.

If they succeed, the team will bring the big gun into Homer Harbor for transport up the road to Anchorage.

Three archeologists [sic] will monitor and verify the removal of artifacts from the site. They include: Dave McMahan, State Archeologist [sic] with the Alaska Department of Natural Resources Office of History and Archeology; Tane Casserly, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; and Jason Rogers, a consultant with a private firm of underwater archeologists [sic] in Anchorage.

The three took a water taxi out to join the exploration team aboard their Tollycraft at Cole Cove, inside Port Graham where the survivors from the Torrent landed after their ship hit the rocks and sank and where they spent 18 days awaiting rescue.

The Torrent was carrying 150 men, women and children on a mission to build a fort near Homer, when it ran aground July 15, 1868. The remnants of the ship — mostly metal parts that have survived almost a century and a half of saltwater corrosion — is of interest to state and national agencies, as well as adventure shipwreck explorers like Lloyd and his crew.

"One of the things that makes this expedition newsworthy is that the archeologists [sic] would like to know what will happen to the artifacts," Lloyd said. "We are awaiting final approval from authorities (to retrieve the artifacts.)"

According to Lloyd, state and federal authorities have determined that the GSA (U.S. General Services Administration) has ownership and control over the artifacts belonging to the Torrent.

"Even after 140 years, it's still government property," he said. However, Lloyd said the state has indicated a commitment to keeping the artifacts in Alaska.

"McMahan's office will make the point that the purpose of the recovery is to preserve the artifacts," he said. "Nothing will be removed unlawfully and any (artifacts) that are recovered will be displayed in Alaska."

For more, visit The Torrent Shipwreck Project.

No comments: