By Olivia McDaniel, Archaeologist - Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program
August 16, 2014
It is Saturday afternoon aboard the R/V Roper, and we find ourselves waiting out yet another storm. The visiting vessel, Sea Spirit, departed around 14:30 (2:30 pm) and we are currently swinging on our bow anchor near Target 1. For almost two hours, we wait for the storm to pass and the seas to calm, but then we can get back to work!
After completing two separate areas of probes on Target 1 during the second cruise, we moved on to other targets. However, we have decided to take another look at the two components of interest at this target. When we’d originally dropped the buoy at Drop 2, our divers had moved the buoy to an area some distance to the south (designated Drop 2B), having followed the signals from the handheld mag.
But when we plotted that location using our Hypack software, we saw that it was definitely south of the heart of the magnetic anomaly identified during the refinement magnetometer survey at the start of Cruise 2.
So we decided to return and place one more set of probes closer to the original numbers of the Drop 1, just to be sure we cover the target thoroughly.
Upon arrival, we drop a new buoy, designated Drop 1A, and once we GPS its location and plot it, we see that it is only three meters north of the spot we wanted, Drop 1. At 16:45 (4:45 pm), Brendan Burke and I (Olivia McDaniel) descend to begin probing the third area. We begin by completing 20 probes, one every meter, along a North/South transect line. We find nothing.
We ascend to the surface at 18:20 having found nothing but modern debris. In some cases, the discovery of modern debris tells us that the cause of an anomaly is modern, like the fuel tank we discovered at target E3T on the 14th. In this case, because we did not find any large metal objects, we are still unsure what caused the anomaly. This area could be the site of a shrimp boat wreck, or where a shrimp boat somehow lost a net and its associated tackle overboard.
Alternatively, it could be where a shrimp boat snagged and subsequently lost its net due to exposed wreckage from a historic shipwreck. Because of this latter possibility, we don’t want to abandon this target just because of the presence of modern trawl net material. We will therefore continue testing Target 1, Drop 1 in the morning, by probing two additional, diagonal transects.