December 19, 2002
Complete census of Hudson River shipwrecks
From the NY Times:
Scientists mapping the bottom of the Hudson River with sonar say they have found nearly every single ship that ever foundered in the river over the last 400 years or more. Not just some of them, or most of them, but — astonishingly — all of them, except for a few that may have been disturbed by dredging.A wise precaution against looting.
The ghostly images provide a record of collisions and carelessness and storm-tossed fate — most of it previously unrecorded and utterly unknown — from the days of sail and steam through the diesel tugs and tankers on the river today. Altogether, more than 200 possible wrecks, spread out over 140 miles from the southern tip of Manhattan to Troy, have been identified.
But don't ask where the wrecks are. It's a state secret.
Archaeologists say that while many of the wrecks probably have little historic significance — several overturned barges, for example, have already been identified by their distinctive outline — the likelihood is high that the river will yield at least a few long-held secrets.
What appears to be a largely intact 19th-century sailing sloop — something that historians and sailors have hungered after for years and never found — has been located in Haverstraw Bay, about 35 miles north of Manhattan, for instance, and the suspected remains of a half-dozen Revolutionary War vessels scuttled in 1777 have been tentatively identified farther north.
The surveys have also turned up more mysterious structures, including a series of submerged walls more than 900 feet long that scientists say are clearly of human construction. They say the walls are probably 3,000 years old because that was the last time the river's water levels were low enough to have allowed construction on dry land.
Posted by David on December 19, 2002 4:19 PM