Happy Holidays from the Monitor Crew! Looking forward to an exciting 2017.
This past week the 30,000 gallon tank containing Monitor’s steam engine was drained for a key milestone in the conservation of this unique artifact. The purpose for the tank drain was the installation of a new support system under the engine that will enable the eventual disassembly of the object. Up to this week, the engine which weighs approximately 25 tons, had been suspended off the ground from a massive I-bean supported on large steel posts. In the images below, you can see the engine before and after recent deconcretion efforts suspended from the I-beam.
This past week, the Monitor conservation staff began screening concretion and corrosion products removed from the interior of the turret over the last 10 weeks (see previous posts and video links on the main page). As with any archaeological excavation, we want to make sure that even small objects and fragments are recovered for future study and interpretation. This being said, we have opted to use a process called wet screening. Under this technique, material types of various sizes are separated out while at the same time washed by a steady stream of water to remove loose sediment and rust. The additional washing makes the identification of small artifacts easier and speeds up the overall screening process.
As concretion removal on the turret has continued, a host of new finds have been discovered!!! The focus of concretion removal has shifted around a bit during the last several weeks (look at previous blog posts). We began work with the documentation and removal of the roof stanchions, which then moved to the excavation of concretion between the roof rails and beams, and currently to the removal of corrosion and concretion in and around the nutguards.
The following images show the variety of discoveries we found during the excavations.
After the removal of remaining roof stanchions on the turret (see previous post below), conservation staff shifted their work efforts to its interior. Over the last several weeks we have been using an assortment of pneumatic and other hand tools to remove remaining concretion and loose corrosion products embedded in between the roof rails and on the main roof support beams. The following link is a video put together by The Daily Press, which provides a good overview of the work.