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For Release:  7 September 2002

For More Information:
Russ Green, underwater archaeologist, Wisconsin Historical Society, (608)
John Karl, science writer, University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute,
(608) 263-8621
Editors Note:  Photos available for downloading at 


MADISON, Wis. (9/7/02) --  Ever wonder what it is like to be part of a dive
team exploring historic Great Lakes shipwrecks? Find out today through Sept.
20 as a team of underwater archaeologists post daily journal entries and
photographs to the Web while they investigate historical shipwrecks near
Sturgeon Bay in Door County, Wis. 
Underwater archaeologists from the Wisconsin Historical Society, with
support from the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, are studying
the remains of three nineteenth-century ships resting in shallow water near
the eastern shore of Sturgeon Bay.  Two were schooners and the third was a
propeller-driven steam ship.  They carried passengers, iron ore and lumber
on the Great Lakes before ending their careers hauling limestone for the
Sturgeon Bay stone industry.  

"These vessels are mostly forgotten today, but they were the backbone of
Great Lakes commerce a hundred years ago," said Russ Green, a Wisconsin
Historical Society underwater archaeologist.

The Web site will include videos, scale drawings and archaeological maps,
Green said.  It also features a Kids' Corner with activities for teachers
and students and  brief histories of the shipwrecks being documented.  The
site is called "Notes from the Field 2002: Underwater Archaeologists in
Action."  It can be found at www.wisconsinhistory.org/shipwrecks/notes.

"Doing underwater archaeology is exciting and often challenging," Green
said.  "We hope the Web site will give people a taste what it's like and
also illustrate how important these vessels were to Wisconsin's economic and
cultural development."

The archaeological investigation is part of an annual field school hosted by
the WHS. It includes students from East Carolina University and volunteers
from the Wisconsin Underwater Archaeology Association.  The fieldwork
provides archaeological experience to the students, trains volunteers in
underwater documentation methods, and educates area divers in the importance
of preserving Wisconsin's shipwrecks.  The effort concludes a five-year
archaeological survey of several stone industry-related shipwrecks in Door

Today, before heading to Sturgeon Bay, the students are inspecting the hull
of the WWII submarine USS Cobia, built in Manitowoc and now moored there at
the Wisconsin Maritime Museum.  The divers are checking for zebra mussel
growth and evaluating the hull's condition.

Information gleaned during the shipwreck survey will be used to manage the
sites and to provide interpretative materials such as dive guides, Web sites
and on-shore exhibits, Green said.  Survey results also will 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 Commerce.


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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