Seal Cove Day Seven – Objectives Reached

Today, Baylus continued to research the history of Seal Cove, while Crista, Steve, and I led volunteers and Park staff at the wreck site.

Under sunny skies, we finished profile drawings on the last of the frames ahead of schedule. This left us to use our remaining time to investigate other questions about the wreck. One is the placement of missing frames. Feeling in the mud on the easternmost unattached outer hull strake, we found fastener holes where treenails had held it to the frames. The vessel appears to be very heavily built, and today we confirmed that she was. Our investigations revealed a stout framing system, with short distances between timbers.

We also attempted to decipher fastener patterns in the keel. We will finish noting the location of all of the fasteners on the east side of the keel tomorrow. Hopefully this will tell us the number of frames, known as floors, that crossed the keel and were bolted to it. At present, we suspect that the keel is on its side, but are not sure if the east side represents the top or the bottom. Instead of a rabbet, a pointed triangular extrusion runs nearly the length of the keel, much to our consternation.

Earlier in the week we noted a submerged timber in a stream near the shipwreck. Resembling a knee or breast hook, it may be a structural component from the wreck. Each day, as the tide races in, we scramble to find a good stopping point for our work. Today we had just begun recording the mystery timber, and a potential floor from the site, when the tide poured in. The last of our measurements were truly underwater archaeology, as rushing water inundated our baselines.

Tomorrow we will draw cross sections, record outlying components, and put the finishing touches on the fieldwork.      

—Franklin H. Price