Update by Della Scott-Ireton, FPAN, and Laura Landry, L.A. Landry & Assoc.
We’ve been working to compile the site photomosaic still – 2,000 photographs are a lot to process! The photos are compiled from several different data sets, including both low and hi resolution, still and video, as well as sector-scanning sonar and multi-beam bathymetry.
In the meantime, the ROV has been testing specially designed tools for collecting artifacts, such as various shapes of scoops and scoop-baskets. Artifacts collected yesterday are being prepared and loaded for lifting to the surface. We are very concerned that the fragile glass bottles and ceramic plates are not broken, so are carefully layering the crates containing the artifacts, and then filling the crates with sediment from the outskirts of the shipwreck site. The sediments will “pad” the artifacts during their 4,000-foot journey to the surface, and then will be easy to remove. At that time, our conservation team will take custody of the artifacts and pad them more securely for storage and transport to the conservation lab at Texas A&M.
The ROV pilots are showing their skills! Their finesse and delicate handling of artifacts have successfully removed the selected artifacts without disturbing surrounding features. They also have mastered the use of the highly technical underwater shovel! We are using a standard snow shovel to load sediment around the artifacts in the crates.