Happy New Year!

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Hope everyone had a happy and festive end to 2017. As Lesley’s blog described last week, our last big project was filling the turret tank with a new 1% weight/volume sodium hydroxide solution. Quite the way to finish out the year!

We are now off to a running start for 2018. Most of the team travelled to the Society for Historical Archaeology’s Annual Conference during the first week of January. The conference, held in New Orleans this year, hosts attendees from all over the world and features sessions on both underwater and terrestrial archaeology.

Highlights at this conference included sessions on: outreach and engagement in underwater archaeology, the Queen Anne’s Revenge archaeological and conservation project, interpretation and presentation of archaeological sites, the law, history, and practice of cultural resource management, collections driven research, and current research at the Vasa museum in Sweden. Joe and Tane from the Monitor Marine Sanctuary NOAA office presented their work on discovering and mapping sunken U-boats off the coast of North Carolina.

We presented a full session on the USS Monitor Project. Will discussed the last twenty years of the project as a whole. Lesley’s talk looked how the historical record and archaeological evidence from the ship align (or don’t). Elsa presented the conservation of the wool coat that was discovered in the turret (It’s now on display!). Laurie discussed the research she and Will have undertaken over the last two years about dry ice blasting as a cleaning method for metal artifacts. My presentation was on some of the research that has been done into maker’s marks discovered on artifacts from the engine room. Bill Fleming, a Masters student at East Carolina University, presented his thesis work on comparing different types of photogrammetry software that he used to model parts of the Monitor. Hannah discussed the digital reproduction of the Monitor using photogrammetry. The session was very well received and attendees seemed very interested in our work. We owe a big thank you to Hannah for organizing the session!

Hannah presenting her research on the USS Monitor at the Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting.
Bill Fleming, an East Carolina University Masters student presenting his thesis project on comparing photogrammetry software that he used to model parts of the Monitor.
Post-presentation session celebrations with beignets.

Now that everyone is back in the lab, it’s time to gear up for our upcoming projects. Beautiful new climate-controlled storage cabinets for the conserved Monitor collection will be arriving later this month, thanks to a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and additional funding from the Bronze Door Society. We’re looking forward to installing those! The plan for the rest of the winter is to work away at our small finds and try to finish individual treatment projects. It will be good to get back to the bench.

Happy New Year all! Hoping that 2018 is off to a great start for everyone!!

We returned to a winter wonderland! The Monitor replica after the snowfall. Photo taken by Jim Wetherbee, Associate Director of Facilities.

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