St. Mary’s River project update

Scott Tucker is investigating this site as part of his doctoral work at the University of Southampton, England.  Scott has summarized the project and posted photographs on his blog at

The site is a possible 17th century wreck that was explored before by the Maryland Historical Trust but was not surveyed in detail.  This year’s work included a Phase I reconnaissance to confirm the location and map visible features.  IMH members Dawn Cheshaek, Bob Speir, and Bob Jimenez dived.  Life member Jim Sanborn loaned us a 10-foot Zodiac that served as the primary workboat.  We also used an 11-foot aluminum skiff to carry dive and survey gear.  Water temperature was in the low 70s, the jellyfish were not too bad, and visibility was excellent for the river.

The site is heavily encrusted with dead oyster.  We laid a baseline, staked out what appeared to be the perimeter of the site, mapped features with a Total Station loaned by Historic St. Mary’s City (HSMC), and recovered three pieces of small red brick that appear to be Dutch, and three pieces of rock that might be ballast.  They seem to be consistent with the estimated age of the site.  They will be conserved by HSMC.  On the last day of the project we removed all marker buoys and mushroom anchors but left the baseline staked in situ for next year’s field season.  If funding and permits are in hand, next year’s work may include test excavations to determine if any surviving structure lies under the oysters.