The Ronson Ship

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Welcome to the Ronson ship!

I am an intern in the Collections Management department and I have been tasked with re-cataloging and re-housing all of the artifacts that pertain to the Ronson ship. The bags and boxes that the Ronson ship artifacts were placed in when they came to The Mariner’s Museum in 1985 are falling a part which means the items are not properly stored. So I am going through each and every box (there are 78 boxes, that I am aware of) and putting all the items back into new bags. When the Ronson ship came The Mariner’s Museum a cataloging system was not put in places nor was a detailed inventory sheet made. So I am re-numbering each item and creating a new inventory sheet of each box.

The Ronson ship is an 18th century British merchant ship that was found under 175 Water Street in Manhattan, New York in January of 1982. She was 21 feet below street level, her stern was supporting Front Street, and she was beautifully intact. A team of expert archaeologists were brought in and given the month of February to remove the ship and all that came with her.  After freezing temperatures, mudslides, cave-ins, and picket lines, the hull (the front) of the ship was finally free. Only the bow and several key timbers were removed because the rest of the ship was holding up Front Street. She was quickly taken to a conservation laboratory in Groton, Massachusetts and immersed in tanks filled with a solution of water and polyethylene glycol (PEG). She was left to soak for two years. This solution allowed the timbers of the Ronson ship to hold their shape after the conservation process was complete. After this phase of conservation, she was  brought to The M

ariner’s Museum in 1985 to begin the slow drying process. The Mariner’s Museum was supposed to continued to apply PEG to the timbers for two more years and then begin plans for an exhibit. The drying process was completed but, sadly, no exhibit plans were made. The timbers of the Ronson ship were left to occupy one whole storage area and all the other items pertaining to the Ronson ship were bagged and placed in boxes which are in another storage area separate from the timbers.

The Ronson ship is the only archaeologically investigated British merchant ship from the early 18th century. In recent years new information on the Ronson ship’s past life has come to light. If you would like to read more about the Ronson ship’s life and her adventures in the 18th and 20th centuries, keep an eye out for Warren Riess’ (the head archaeologist of the Ronson ship excavation) book The Ship That Held Up Wall Street coming out in the November of 2014 by Texas A&M University Press.

 

This is a baby shoe found in the Ronson collection. There was a plethora of shoe leather found in the hull of the Ronson. The larger shoe is in the picture for size comparison. The larger shoe is probably an adult male shoe.
This is a baby shoe found in the Ronson collection. There was a plethora of shoe leather found in the hull of the Ronson. The larger shoe is in the picture for size comparison. The larger shoe is probably an adult male shoe.
There were 8 musket balls found in the Ronson shipwreck.
There were 8 musket balls found in the Ronson collection.
There were many animal teeth found in the hull of the Ronson . This is one of the smaller teeth that have been re-found in the collection.
There were many animal teeth found in the hull of the Ronson. This is one of the smaller teeth that have been re-found in the collection.
This is a jaw bone of an animal that was found in the hull of the Ronson.
This is a human jaw bone that was found in the Ronson collection.
This is Alfred. He is a rat skull that was found in the Ronson.
This is Alfred. He is a rat skull that was found in the Ronson collection.
This is the largest piece of the Ronson's rigging that is in the collection. It measures 16 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall.
This is the largest piece of the Ronson’s rigging that is in the collection. It measures 16 inches long by 3.5 inches wide and 3 inches tall.
This is a leather mask that was found in the Hull of the Ronson ship.
This is a leather mask that was found in the Hull of the Ronson ship.
This is a wooden domino that was found in the hull of the Ronson ship.
This is a wooden domino that was found in the hull of the Ronson ship.
This is a human tooth, most likely a baby tooth. The bag that this item was found in was labeled "Homo Sapiens." This tooth also look very different from the other teeth that have been found in the Ronson ship collection.
This is a human tooth, most likely a baby tooth. The bag that this item was found in was labeled “Homo Sapiens.” This tooth also look very different from the other teeth that have been found in the Ronson ship collection.
This is a piece of pipe stone that was found in the hull of the Ronson ship. It has the most detailing on it compared to the other pieces of pipe stone found in the Ronson ship collection.
This is a piece of pipe stone that was found in the hull of the Ronson ship. It has the most detailing on it compared to the other pieces of pipe stone found in the Ronson ship collection.
This is Willie. He is a cow skull that was found in the Ronson.
This is Willie. He is a cow skull that was found in the Ronson.

3 thoughts on “The Ronson Ship”

  1. The artifacts recovered during the excavation, with very few exceptions, came from fill deposited in the hull after the ship was abandoned. The mandible you illustrate is human, and was found in a layer of coral sand ballast that had been thrown into the hull. The fill came largely from primary trash thrown into the hull over a very short period. I was the project manager for the excavation and was on-site every day.

    1. Thank you for sharing this information with us, it really helps put together the whole picture of the excavation and artifacts.
      -Rachel

  2. Marshy areas on the inland portions of the Charleston, SC, peninsula were filled in much the same way. Instead of ships, log piles with horizontal planks fastened in between them were placed in lowlands and then filled in, including much period trash. The piles and planks, mostly heart pine, are dug up up often while doing utility repair under the streets. All manner of everyday trash can be found including bottles, broken ceramics & pottery, leather, bones, and metal objects.

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