The Georgetown (Maybe) Shipwreck – Part One

For all you landlocked landlubbers (check out that alliteration!), one of the realities of living on an island is that you are constantly exposed to tidal action (literally from all sides, because you’re on an island, and that’s kind of how they work). Anyway, if you’re into beachcombing, it is one of your greatest allies, helping to shift the sands and bring things to the surface; however, if you’re into building multi-million dollar homes/cottages perched precariously close to the water…well, let’s just say you better enjoy them while you can, before Mother Nature has her fun.  And if you’re into archaeology like we are, that tidal action is a two-edged sword.  By times, it has proven detrimental to our sites located along the coast (notably in 2010, when three storm surges in as many weeks wiped out about half of our site at Pointe-aux-Vieux); recently though, as Dr. Kristmanson alluded to in her previous post, tidal action worked very much in our favor when it helped to expose the remnants of a ship off of Georgetown.

As Dr. Kristmanson mentioned, there was that whole super-moon thing in June, which resulted in abnormally high tides.  In early July, we received word that a shipwreck had surfaced at the entrance to Georgetown Harbor, and over a two-week period we spent about three days collecting what data we could to learn about the age and type of the vessel.  Because we rarely deal with shipwrecks (even though the entire coastline of Prince Edward Island could accurately be termed a graveyard of ships), we’re more than a little out of our comfort zone on this one, which is why we are currently compiling all of the data into a report.  When completed, this report will be sent to an Atlantic Canadian shipwreck/marine heritage expert we’ve been consulting, who will provide us (hopefully) with a few answers.  So this will be a two-part feature, with the second act being a more detailed discussion of our investigation that we’ll put up on the blog whenever our expert gets back to us with his interpretation – predicated, of course, upon us actually getting the data into a readable format, which has been proving challenging to say the least, especially with our field season in full swing.

Seriously.  This has absolutely nothing to do with us being lazy.

In the meantime, however, we thought it might be nice to tease you guys a little bit (alright, alright, thought it would be a good idea), so attached below are the links to all of the media coverage the shipwreck received.  Final count:  4 written articles, 3 radio segments (I could only track down two), and 1 televised news story.   As Dr. Kristmanson pointed out, the amount of interest in this shipwreck affair was intense.  We’ve never seen anything like it, and to be honest, we’re still scratching our heads a little bit (because we’re confused, not because we have lice).  I mean, the work we do typically (though not always) gets a modicum of coverage simply because it’s archaeology, which is still a relatively new concept/practice on the Island; but for some reason, this particular investigation garnered a tonne of interest.   The only caveat, however, is that you take the oral history you’re about to read/hear with a good pinch of salt.  A really good pinch, even.

Other than that, enjoy, and stay tuned for Part Two, headed your way at some point (but don’t hold your breath, by any means).

Newspaper Articles:

Television Coverage:

Radio Segments—mike-martell/

P.S. – I’m calling it the “maybe” shipwreck because the possibility exists that it isn’t even a shipwreck in the traditional sense of the word (ie the vessel went down in a storm/disaster at sea).

P.P.S. – And yes, I am aware that I used about the most unimaginative title out there for this post.  So you can either cut me some slack, or walk the plank.




We’re sorry.  We’re very sorry indeed.  In fact, if you could see our faces right now, they would probably look a little something like this:


A little over a month ago now, we brought this blog back from the dead and for about a two-week period gave you, our devoted readers, a fair chunk of fresh content (albeit from last field season).  And then we just up and went all incommunicado after the first week of July.  And for that we apologize.

The thing is, right after Canada Day, our field season kicked into high gear, and has remained there for the past month.  Because of that, we’ve had to place blogging on the shelf for a little while.  And now we’re (hopefully) going to make up for it.  While our field season is by no means over, with the rest of August and some of September yet to play out, we are going to attempt to make a concerted effort to get some new material posted.  And when I say new, I mean stuff that’s been happening this year.  We won’t make you wait so long this time.  Pinky swear.

I won’t spill the beans here, but I will say that there should be some good posts coming your way soon, including an update on our second field season at Orwell Corner, an investigation of a shipwreck, and a brief (and perhaps somewhat inglorious) return to Pointe-aux-Vieux, with a few odds and ends tossed in along the way.  I might even start harassing some of our other crew members to provide us with their own commentary on the field season, and their research.  We’ll see how it goes.

Well, I guess that’s it for the moment.  See you guys in the next post!

P.S. – About the title:  As I’m sure you know, AWOL is an acronym for Absent Without Leave; however, I’ve also decided that it can stand for Archaeologists Will Occasionally Lag (when it comes to writing).  It kindasorta works.