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For Release:   IMMEDIATELY
September 4, 2001

For More Information
Jeff Gray, state underwater archaeologist, Wisconsin Historical Society,
(608) 271-1382
John Karl, science writer, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute,
(608) 263-8621

Photos are available upon request.

MADISON, Wis. (9/4/01) - Ever wonder what it would be like to be part of a
dive team exploring a historic shipwreck?  Find out this month as a team of
underwater archaeologists posts to the Web daily journal entries and
photographs describing their investigation of historic shipwrecks near
Milwaukee and Sturgeon Bay, Wis.

This week underwater archaeologists from the Wisconsin Historical
Society--with assistance from Wisconsin Sea Grant, the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee Great Lakes WATER Institute, and the Great Lakes
Shipwreck Research Foundation-are studying the 126-foot wooden schooner
Lumberman, which sank in a storm a few miles off Oak Creek, Wis., just south
of Milwaukee, in 1893. 

Diving in 60 feet of cold Lake Michigan water, the archaeologists are
looking for clues to why the ship capsized, according to Jeff Gray,
Wisconsin state underwater archaeologist.  The Lumberman's rare tandem
centerboard configuration - with two separate boards that were lowered into
the water to prevent the vessel from slipping sideways when sailing - may
have contributed to her sinking, Gray said. 

Of Wisconsin's 700 shipwrecks, only three of had tandem centerboards, and
two of them capsized, Gray said.

Web users will be able to follow the archaeologists' progress as they post
daily updates of their work to the Web, including photographs, videos, scale
drawings, and archaeological maps.  The Web site will also feature a Kids'
Corner with activities for teachers and their students.  Live Web broadcasts
of the archaeologists working underwater will also be featured on the site. 

"Besides illustrating the importance that these vessels played in
Wisconsin's economic and cultural development, we want the Web site to give
people an idea of what doing underwater archaeology is like," he said.

The site is called "Notes from the Field 2001: Underwater Archaeologists in
Action."   It can be found at www.shsw.wisc.edu/shipwrecks/notes.

In addition to archaeologically documenting the Lumberman site, the divers
are also installing a 2,000-pound mooring.  The mooring will encourage
visits to the shipwreck by providing better access for divers, Gray said.
It will also help preserve the historic site by preventing anchor damage
from dive boats.  This will be the twelfth buoy placed by the WHS on
important Wisconsin shipwrecks. 

These "underwater parks" are being incorporated into the Wisconsin Maritime
Trails, currently under development by the WHS.  The Maritime Trails are
being developed to enhance the public's appreciation for the state's
maritime history and to foster the preservation of maritime properties for
future generations, Gray said.

After their work on the Lumberman, the dive team will explore three
nineteenth-century ships resting in just a few feet of water near the
eastern shore of Sturgeon Bay, Door County's busiest port.  

Two of these vessels were schooners, and the third was a propeller-driven
steam ship.  All three ended their careers in the service of the Sturgeon
Bay stone industry.  Mostly forgotten today, these vessels were vital to
Great Lakes commerce a hundred years ago. 

The archaeologists will be joined in Sturgeon Bay by students from East
Carolina University and volunteers from Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology
Association (WUAA).  The fieldwork will provide valuable archaeological
experience to the students, train volunteers in underwater documentation
methods, and educate area divers in the importance of preserving Wisconsin's
shipwrecks, Gray said.

Information learned during the survey will also be used to manage the sites
and to provide interpretative materials such as dive guides, Web sites, and
on-shore exhibits.   The information will also be used to nominate the sites
to the National Register of Historic Places, which will give them federal
recognition and protection.  Wisconsin currently has 17 shipwrecks listed on
the National Register.

You can learn more at "Wisconsin's Great Lakes Shipwrecks," a Web site
produced by the Wisconsin Historical Society and Wisconsin Sea Grant:

# # # #

Created in 1966, Sea Grant is a national network of 30 university-based
programs of research, outreach, and education dedicated to the protection
and sustainable use of the United States' coastal, ocean, and Great Lakes
resources.  The National Sea Grant Network is a partnership of participating
coastal states, private industry, and the National Sea Grant College
Program, National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of


Since 1988, the Wisconsin Historical Society has surveyed, mapped, and
documented the underwater archeological resources of the state.  This work
will improve the management of historic shipwrecks and help develop
underwater preserve areas to protect these cultural and recreational
resources.  The State Underwater Archaeology Program is part of the WHS's
Division of Historic Preservation, under the Office of the State


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