Sunday, September 20, 2015

9/20/15 Report - 18th Century Merchant Shipwreck Discovered. Processes That Cause Coins and Things To Sink. Bigger Surf Coming.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Recovered Wood From 18th Century Shipwreck.
Source: see link below. 
The newly discovered remains were found in the Nanticoke River during a bridge repair.  About 20% of the ship was recovered.

“At least three curious or strange carvings have been found,” she said. “We don’t know what they mean. Usually when you see carvings on a ship, they were put there during the construction process, usually Roman numbers, but these were different. There are two geometric patterns (carvings) that no one in our team of underwater archaeologists and maritime historians, had ever seen before.”
Were they simply construction diagrams used when building the boat?

You can see the carvings in the photo.  It is hard to tell if they are anything more than doodles, but that is the kind of puzzle that makes it interesting.  You never know what the significance might be, and as I tried to show with the black light posts, the significance can be discovered over time.

Here is the link to the article.


How do coins sink?  That is a question that was addressed in one very popular post back some time ago.  There was a lot of input from readers of this blog, and I thought it was both interesting and helpful.

I have long maintained that things do not sink simply as a result of gravity.  Gravity is a part of it, but without something else going on, gravity is simply not sufficient to draw objects down through layers of soil or sand.  

Yesterday I became convinced that one process that I did not appreciate enough is what the archaeologists call bioturbation.

Pedoturbation refers to many different processes that can result in the displacement, movement, and burial of artifacts.  Bioturbation, which includes faunalturbation and floralturbation, is the common processes that affect most sites.

The illustration immediately  below provides a very good list of processes that move soil or sand and result in artifacts being buried or moved.

The illustration is found in chapter 11 of Advances in Archaeological Method and Theory edited by Michael B. Schiffer.   Part of that book can be read online. 

Click on the title of the book if you want to read more of that.

Chapter 11 of the book extensively covers site disturbance processes including the effect of animals, including ants, worms, and almost anything that burrows or moves earth.  The effect of these animals is estimated and measured in some cases, and it seems the effect can be very significant, especially when counted over decades or centuries.  Although I had recognized and mentioned the effect of animals in burying and uncovering artifacts, I am now convinced the effect is significantly greater than I previously recognized.

In my previous post, one factor that I felt was one of the larger factors was the creation of top soil by fallen leaves etc.  In a woods where leaves fall and deteriorate, it should be noted that there would be a lot of earth worms there as well as other animals foraging, digging and scratching around.  I am certain that I didn't appreciate the full extent of that until yesterday.

Anyhow, I found the illustration helpful.  It made me also think of underwater environments.  There are plenty of animals that disturb the bottom in the water too.  That deserves more attention.  That could be a significant factor in tight spaces like crevices and cracks.  I'll have to dig into that more myself.

Here is a link to an abstract for a paper that considers the relative effect of sedimentation versus pedoturbation.  I'd like to get that article.


The weather has changed and the wind has been coming more from the east/northeast all day.  The surf on the Treasure Coast is up a little today too.

I visited a couple of beaches this morning and the waves were a little bigger than expected.  Definitely three feet when I was there.

The waves were crashing out some twenty yards on the front of the flat beaches, while on the steeper beaches, the waves were crashing almost right at the waterline.

Wednesday or Thursday we might get as much as a four of five foot surf.

The change of wind direction alone has resulting in some small changes.  Sand has been moving a bit.  I saw a few small cuts - all less than a foot though.

I think some more sand might be moved around a little through the first part of this week, but not nearly enough to change my beach detecting conditions rating.


Congratulations to Mr. and Ms Dan B.  A nine pound baby boy just joined their family.


Happy hunting,