A local artifact collector contacted the U.S. Army Engineer District, Vicksburg in the fall of 1994 concerning timbers from a ship protruding from the west bank of the Red River, Louisiana, during the summer of 1994. From historical records it was determined that the shipwreck is that of the Kentucky, which sank in 1865. An investigation integrating archaeological, geological, and geophysical methods was undertaken to determine the location, orientation, and depth of the wreckage. Based on site geology, the shipwreck is expected to lie within a silty sand deposit within 4–8.5 m below the ground surface. The results of probe investigations performed by the archaeologists and borehole data orient the long axis of the ship N57.5E. This orientation conflicts with the geophysical data, which suggest an orientation of N116W. The geophysical surveys identified an anomalous region, approximately 31 m long and 10 m wide, that borders the Red River and an abandoned channel of the Red River. The magnetometer data suggests that the bow of the ship is pointed toward the abandoned channel. This orientation contradicts historical records which have the bow pointing toward the modern Red River. A subsequent underwater investigation by the archaeological contractor discovered a rudder‐related mechanism protruding from the bank of the Red River, confirming the geophysical prediction. All three scientific surveys agree that the wreckage is at a depth 3.8–8.5 m below ground surface and at an inclined position, with a downward slope from the bank of the Red River to the abandoned channel. © 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.*
Geoarchaeology – Wiley
Published: Jun 1, 2000
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