Much of the 2012 field season was devoted to continuing work on the brigantine Sultan discovered last year in Lake Erie off Cleveland, Ohio. In support of the decision by the Maritime Archaeological Survey Team (MAST) to officially moor this wreck and open it to the general diving public, CLUE assisted MAST with fund raising through presentations at local dive shops and scuba shows. MAST is a group of avocational divers involved in the archaeological survey and mooring of shipwrecks in Ohio waters. Sufficient funds were raised to both properly moor the shipwreck and perform a detailed archaeological survey, which was performed over the summer of 2012 under the direction of CLUE's Director and Chief Archaeologist David VanZandt. The survey results are now in the process of being documented and will be published at a later date.

MAST survey of the Sultan.

Top/left: 1860s plate artifact on wreck (Photo by David VanZandt / CLUE), Top/right: Survey divers returning aboard the boat Holiday (Photo by MAST), Bottom/left: Divers and boat at MAST mooring buoy (Photo by Chris Kraska), Bottom/right: Diver on the wreck (Photo by Chris Kraska).

David also assisted MAST with follow-up dives on another previous CLUE-discovered wreck known as the "East Breakwall Barge", which MAST began surveying during the summer of 2011.

Costa Rica shipwreck anchor.

Costa Rica shipwreck anchor (Photo by David VanZandt / CLUE).

An additional major CLUE survey project was conducted with the assistance of Dr. Lynn Harris, an underwater archaeologist and associate professor at East Carolina University. Dr. Harris assisted David in performing a survey of two suspected shipwrecks within the boundaries of Cahuita National Park in Costa Rica in June, 2012. The sites are restricted to snorkeling only and the use of SCUBA equipment was not permitted. Nevertheless, investigations suggest two possible candidates, Christianus Quintus (Christian V) and Fredericus Quartus (Frederick IV). Both ships belonged to the Danish West Indies Company and wrecked in this area off the Costa Rica coast in 1710 while being involved in Caribbean slave trading. Further detailed surveys on these ships will continue in the future.

Mud map and sidescan sonar image of scow schooner Lily.

Mud map and sidescan sonar image of scow schooner Lily (Large view) (Map by David VanZandt/ CLUE. Sidescan by Tom Kowalczk/ CLUE).

In Lake Erie Tom Kowalczk of CLUE located a new shipwreck off Vermilion, Ohio. This small sailing vessel is suspected to be the two-masted scow schooner Lily, which capsized and sank in a squall in July, 1862. It was initially dove in late September, 2012, and a mud map with basic dimensions was produced. Jim Wilson, the president of the Bay Area Divers (BAD) scuba club was invited to participate in this first dive. He later published an article about the wreck in BAD's newsletter Bottom Times.

As part of CLUE's public outreach activities, Jim Paskert of CLUE continued to give shipwreck talks at various library branches over the summer. Jim has given these talks for five consecutive years, and this year he gave 20 talks to children and adults. Jim also presented on the Sultan at BAD's annual Shipwrecks and Scuba show, of which CLUE is a gold sponsor. David presented a talk on the Sultan for the MAST fall meeting and a paper on the Sultan at the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) conference in Leicester, UK, in January, 2013. This SHA paper has been submitted by David, Jim, and CLUE member Kevin Magee to the Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology (ACUA) for publication.

Finally, David worked at the request of East Carolina University to assist in the identification of a shipwreck believed to be the Quedagh Merchant located in the Dominican Republic. This ship was captured and sailed by the privateer and accused pirate Captain Kidd. David used his VanZandt Historic Shipwreck Identification Method (VHSIM) to evaluate the data from the wreck site and determined that the historical and archaeological data were consistent in sufficient detail to establish that they belong to the proposed ship with no irreconcilable discrepancies.

CLUE looks forward to another exciting season in 2013 finding and documenting shipwrecks in Lake Erie and elsewhere in the world. For additional information please visit their website at:


View previous CLUE posts on the MUA:
The 2011 Season
The 2010 Season
The 2009 Season
The 2008 Season
The 2007 Season
Past Projects
An Introduction

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