The Abandoned Ships Project [1997-present]

The Abandoned Ships Project

Remains of the tugboat Isco, Eagles Island Ship Graveyard, Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC (2006)

Remains of the tugboat Isco, Eagles Island Ship Graveyard, Cape Fear River, Wilmington, NC (Photo: Nathan Richards, 2006)

Across the globe, studies of non-catastrophically lost, deliberately discarded watercraft sites have touched upon many themes and interests – from the academic to the public, the historical to the recreational and from the site-specific to the regional. Such sites are significant for how they contribute to our understanding of behaviors associated with cultural site formation processes such as salvage, demolition, and scuttling translate to the archaeological record. Abandoned watercraft have also proved to have scientific and experimental potential, and to be able to give us insight into the causal aspects of discard activities, the spatial dimension of deliberate abandonment, and the changing nature of the disposal and post-abandonment re-utilization of unwanted watercraft. This project explores themes surrounding the significance and research potential of the abandoned ship resource.

In order to address this research potential, The Abandoned Ship Project (ASP) encompasses three main goals:

a) Foster comparative regional and international studies of the abandoned watercraft resource through historical and archaeological research
b) Create an international database of abandoned watercraft sites
c) Support research in to abandoned ships and ships’ graveyards

To learn more, visit The Abandoned Ships’ Project website.