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.
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.
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.
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
“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.”
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.
“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 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.
“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.
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.
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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