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GLIN==> EXCAVATION OF "LA SALLE'S LOST SHIP" TO BE RECOUNTED IN THREE TALKS IN WISCONSIN



EXCAVATION OF "LA SALLE'S LOST SHIP" BY MARINE ARCHAEOLOGISTS TO BE
RECOUNTED IN THREE TALKS IN WISCONSIN

The leader of an excavation of a 17th-century Gulf of Mexico shipwreck is
coming to Wisconsin to recount the historic dig in three illustrated talks
entitled "La Salle's Lost Ship: The Excavation of La Belle." The first talk
is Tuesday, May 16, at the University of Wisconsin-Superior; the second is
Wednesday, May 17, in Green Bay; and the third is Thursday, May 18, in
Madison.  All talks begin at 7:00 p.m.  

Steve Hoyt, state marine archaeologist for the Texas Historical Commission,
will reveal how marine archeologists isolated the shipwreck in a cofferdam
off the Texas coast during the 1996-97 excavation and unearthed an estimated
one million artifacts from the wreck of La Belle, which sank in 1687.  

Hoyt's presentations are offered free to the public as part of Wisconsin's
Archaeology and Historic Preservation Week, May 13-21.

La Belle was one of four vessels sailed to the Gulf of Mexico by Robert
Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, in 1684 to establish a French colony at the
Mississippi River.  The final disaster of La Salle's ill-fated mission was
the sinking of the ship, which carried the last of the colony's supplies.
La Salle's own men eventually murdered him.

The shipwreck was discovered in 1995 and is considered one of the earliest
and most important shipwrecks ever found in North America.  The excavation
yielded a treasure trove of artifacts, including bronze cannons, millions of
glass beads, about a third of the ship's hull, and the skeleton of a crew
member.

Another of La Salle's ships, the Griffin, sank in Lake Michigan or Huron and
is believed to be the first European ship to be lost in the Great Lakes.  It
has yet to be discovered.

Hoyt will discuss La Salle's historic exploits, as well as the discovery,
excavation, and conservation of La Belle.

For more information call the Katheryn Ohman Theater at UW-Superior, (715)
394-8332, the Brown County Library in Green Bay, (920) 448-4400 ext. 394, or
the State Historical Society of Wisconsin in Madison, (608) 271-8172. 

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