Archaeological Dig Reveals 18th Century Shipwreck

posted: 01/06/16
by: Danny Clemens
Alexandria shipwreck
City of Alexandria

Although it has yet to be built, a hotel in Alexandria, Virginia already has its first guest: the historic remains of an 18th-century ship.

Approximately one-third of the ship's hull, which officials say is "sturdily built and well-preserved" was unearthed from the future site of the Indigo Hotel earlier this week.

Historic shipwreck remains
City of Alexandria

The fifty-foot vessel is believed to have played an important role in the landfilling process that extended the city's shoreline into the deeper, more navigable waters of the Potomac River, a move that established Alexandria as an early international port city.

"Further study of the ship has the potential to provide insight into ship-building practices of this early era of our history, and it may represent a vessel type that has not yet been documented through archaeological research," city officials say in a news release.

Related: Coast Guard Spots Century-Old Shipwreck in Lake Michigan

Experts from Thunderbird Archaeology the firm handling the site's archaeological evaluation, will user laser technology to make a 3-D scan of the ship. The wooden remains will be preserved in a wet environment for future study.

Archaeologists have long posited that numerous shipwrecks and other historical artifacts may sit buried beneath the city's waterfront. To protect the hidden treasures, the city in 1992 implemented a code that requires the archaeological evaluation of new construction sites before work commences.

Even before the discovery of the ship, the site's evaluation had already yielded several notable finds, including the remains of a warehouse constructed in 1755 that is believed to be the city's first public building.


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