Update by Chris Horrell, MMS and Ashley Gould Texas A&M University
This morning, the seas calmed enough to raise the stove to the deck of Toisa Vigilant. While the stove is extremely fragile, it made the long journey to the surface where it was examined by the conservators and determined to be in good condition. The stove is in several pieces, a result of sitting on the seafloor for approximately 200 years and failure of its original bolts. The stove will undergo a long conservation process at Texas A&M University after which it will be reconstructed and made available for public viewing at the Louisiana State Museum.
Other artifacts recovered today include the heel of a leather shoe, a spoon, and a pair of navigational dividers. One of the most interesting artifacts examined today was the ship itself. In order to examine the ship’s structure the four inch dredge attached to the ROV was lowered to the seafloor to remove the thin layer of sediment masking the ship timbers. Next to the gun box, archaeologists examined the visible structure and found some articulated timbers providing clues as to how the vessel was constructed. Archaeologists hope that this information will help them identify the type of ship and its function as it plied the waters of the Gulf of Mexico.