Schooner in the Sand Home Page
A Shape in
What Did the
Ship Look Like?
from Artifacts and Documents
Digging into the Wreck
The First Excavation
dig for information. They are as interested in where an artifact is found as
in the artifact itself. Those who worked at the Millecoquins site were
pleased to find the hull nearly intact and most of its contents undisturbed.
students from the East Carolina University (ECU) maritime history program in Greenville, North Carolina, excavated the ship in 1991 and 1994.
In 1991, a
crew of ten from ECU worked on the Millecoquins wreck for ten days. The work
began by uncovering the full length of the hull with the help of a backhoe.
Then the crew worked by hand, excavating the small forecastle (or fo'c'sle) and
about half of the stern cabin. Both of these areas, particularly the stern
cabin, yielded more artifacts than expected. The archaeologists measured the
ship and documented its construction with photos, sketches and notes. Ted
McCutcheon used their measurements to make detailed drawings of the ship.
This drawing shows the out board profile of the wreck including the stern
and the quarter-deck bulkhead.
along the edge of the schooner's cargo hold, the crew encountered densely
packed boxes and barrels. Crew leaders decided that they should leave a more
thorough investigation of the hold for a later excavation. The crew reburied the site to protect the hull and preserve its
remaining contents for future researchers.
In 1994, a
five-person crew returned to the Millecoquins wreck to focus on its cargo
hold. The members excavated 28 barrels. A number were empty, but others contained
the remains of two kinds of fish. Again, organic materials, including the
grass used for dunnage (padding used to protect cargo) between barrels, were well
also had enough time to excavate a storage cabinet in the stern cabin. It
yielded another trove of artifacts: dishes and eating utensils, an intact
stoneware jug and a handbell. Again, the crew members reburied the wreck when they
finished working on the site.