A Project Surveying Historic Connecticut Wrecks

July 13, 2017 § Leave a comment


Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin

With the Ph.D. in Archaeology and a national practice in cultural resource management, Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin and the staffof his company performs diverse archaeological and historical research projects as a government contractor. Dr. R. Christopher Goodwin’s company, R. Christopher Goodwin & Associates, Inc., recently was featured in an Associated Press article, “Race Against Mother Nature to Survey Connecticut Shipwrecks.”

The article focuses on a trio of early 20th-century vessels that lie under approximately 5 feet of water near the Stratford Avenue Bridge in Bridgeport. These slowly decaying canal style barges are increasingly vulnerable to storms and environmental factors such as rising sea levels. As a result, the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) financed a series of remote sensing surveys focused on obtaining data on the current condition of the shipwrecks, on assessing the effects on them of Hurricane Sandy, and developing protocols for their preservation.

The state of Connecticut and other Atlantic Seaboard states received funding authorized by Congress under Public Law 113-2 after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 to assist in recovery efforts and in development of resiliency efforts to foster preservation of historic sites against future storms. One focus of that funding was collecting information about and surveying historic sites on land and underwater along the Connecticut coast that were affected by the storm, and that are in peril from future storms.

The canal barges have been sitting underwater since 1974, when one took on too much water and pulled down the other two that were tied to it. There are few extant examples of such barges; thus, these designated historical resources are of considerable interest to nautical archaeologists, historians, and those interested in maritime history.

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