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Crews were dredging the river. Instead of muck, they pulled up three cannons and a mystery

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You never know what you’ll find.

How about three guns that can date from the American Revolution, an anchor and a probable piece of ship wood?

The Army Corps of Engineers halted work in the area after the discovery in late February east of Georgia’s famous River Street. He then sent signals to maritime experts, historians and those who have worked at river destruction sites, asking them for their insight into the findings.

British warships Phoenix and Rose engaged American ships in New York during the Revolutionary War.  Experts say Rosa led the formation of the forerunner of the United States Navy.
Archaeologists and British Royal Navy are offering an even more intriguing and exciting possibility.

Last week they told CNN that, depending on the measurements and appearance, the guns could be from HMS Rose, a famous British warship that mixed it with settlers during the revolution or, as the UK calls it, the War of Independence. Nearly 250 years ago, the British destroyed the ship on the Savannah River to block the canal and prevent French ships from coming to the aid of settlers trying to retake the city.

Research, diving and sonar explorations of the site will be carried out before anyone knows for sure, if possible, the provenance and context of the artifacts. For now, there is a mix of caution when it comes to reaching conclusions and captivating possibilities.

“It could (tell) a part of Savannah’s story that hadn’t been seen in a long time,” the district’s body archaeologist Andrea Farmer said of the discovery.

So why were there British troops in Savannah?

A brief refresher course may be to answer this question.

The 13 colonies, determined to gain their independence, fought against the forces of King George III on land and sea. The British, hoping to receive support royalists in the south, took Savannah in 1778, only to find himself defending it less than a year later.
Two cannons are shown during an information session of the Army Corps of Engineers in Savannah.

HMS Rose, with its 20 guns and 160 sailors, was brought in to help fellow Redcoats.

The warship was already famous, as it had been a “scourge” for the settlers, as the Royal Navy says. He quelled smuggling in Rhode Island, leading to the formation of the forerunner of the United States Navy.

The Rose fought and patrolled New York’s waterways and parts of the east coast before it stayed south.

At Savannah, the ship was sacrificed on September 19, 1779, to prevent the French allies from joining the siege at this point in the river. The British finally he won the battle and controlled the city until almost the end of the war.
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The guns seem to date back to the mid-1700s, before the Civil War about a century ago, which closely aligns with the history of HMS Rose. They measure about 5 feet long. Additional study and sediment removal from the canyons can provide information on when and where they were made.

“We’re seeing if they came from a single context or if the anchor came from a later ship,” Farmer told CNN.

Archaeologists and historians believe that HMS Rose may have been partially recovered at some point after its wreck.

This is another of the countless mysteries surrounding the recovery of artifacts: do the remains of HMS Rose in the river bed have any shape or form? Officials said they will be part of their work in the coming months.

“I think it’s fantastic and interesting when artifacts from maritime history come to light,” Cmdr said. Jim Morley, United Kingdom’s Deputy Naval Assistant in Washington. “It just gives us a chance to look back on our common maritime history and history in general.”

A busy and ‘dynamic’ river

During the multi-agency port expansion project, the Army Corps of Engineers has long struggled with the challenges of the Savannah River, which is fast, has shifting currents, and has virtually no visibility.

“This stretch of the river can be a dynamic river,” Farmer, the archaeologist, said of the busy canal. “We never know. Materials can change and move.”

This anchorage was among the artifacts found during the dredging operations.

There’s a good chunk of material lying beneath the surface, from Native American pottery that was pushed downstream to a small amount of debris from the CSS Georgia Railroad that sank in 1864 and lost other ships with Over time.

So-called clam dredges designed to pull muck found the artifacts during the week of Feb. 22, the body said. The project is in the final stages of deepening Savannah Harbor from 42 to 47 feet to make sure supertankers have room to navigate, Corps spokesman Billy Birdwell said.

“Studies show that deepening will produce substantial economic benefits for the nation by allowing larger, more cargo-laden ships to call at the port with fewer tidal delays.” says the Corps office.

“You have to do the detective job”

Naval History and Heritage Command officials said there is not enough early evidence to suggest which ship was carrying the discoveries.

The Civil War surrounds Navy divers, archaeologists in Savannah

The body, which used U.S. Navy divers and contractors, removed most of the remains of CSS Georgia a few years ago as part of the deepening of the port. Several cannons were removed and preserved.

The newly found artillery pieces were recovered outside the area where the Corps would have planned more CSS Georgia artifacts, even though they were in the general vicinity, he said. Robert Neyland, head of the NHHC’s underwater archeology branch, said it is possible that rebel gunmen had these older weapons on board.

“I think it’s a significant finding,” said Neyland, whose office has been in contact with the body. “Future research will tell us how significant it is.”

Farmer said the district is in the process of gathering experts who will examine historical and cartographic material. He will use divers, side scan sonar and magnetometry in the area where the artifacts were found. The corps will also turn to artillery experts to review the tests.

Could this cannon have been used by British sailors?  Experts want to find out.

She and others say it is important to examine all options as to their origin.

“You have to do the detective job to solve the mystery,” Neyland said. “We won’t find a name for it. You have to build a set of evidence.”

The discovery will bring research from all over the sea

The Army Corps of Engineers has not detailed the exact area where the artifacts were found, wishing to deter treasure hunters. And, he says, diving in the area is extremely dangerous.

As for the artifacts themselves, the Corps will require the assistance of external experts, as it did with CSS Georgia, for their conservation.

Statements circulated by the British embassy and a Royal Navy article say the artifacts are likely to date from the siege of Savannah. A post-script about HMS Rose: A replica built in 1970 was modified to become HMS Surprise, which appears in Russell Crowe’s film “Master and Commander”. The replica is already in the San Diego Maritime Museum.
This reclaimed wood included spikes, possibly made of copper.

Although the American colonies and the crown were bitter enemies 250 years ago, the United States and the United Kingdom have been strong allies for a long time.

Morley, an assistant at the British embassy, ​​said the discovery in Savannah offers an opportunity “to work together and promote our knowledge.”

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