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The Denbigh Project: Test Excavations at the Wreck of an American Civil War Blockade-Runner

J. Barto Arnold III, Thomas J. Oertling and Andrew W. Hall
World Archaeology
Vol. 32, No. 3, Shipwrecks (Feb., 2001), pp. 400-412
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/827930
Page Count: 13
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The Denbigh Project: Test Excavations at the Wreck of an American Civil War Blockade-Runner
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Abstract

The wreck of the Denbigh, one of the most successful and famous blockade-runners of the American Civil War (1861-5), was located and recorded near Galveston in Texas in 1997. The vessel was built in 1860 as a coastal paddle steamer by Laird, Sons & Co. of Birkenhead (Merseyside, England), and incorporated all the latest features of design and technology. After three years as a passenger steamer on the Irish Sea the Denbigh sailed for Cuba, where she worked as a blockade-runner taking material to and from the Confederate South from early 1864 until her grounding and destruction by Union forces on 23-4 May 1865. This paper provides updated findings on the ship's history and covers the 1999 test excavation phase of an underwater archaeology project to investigate the wreck. As a case-study in historical archaeology the Denbigh Project seeks to integrate documentary, pictorial and material evidence in a way which provides a model for future investigations of shipwrecks of the recent historic past.

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