Lecture: Ghost Fleet Awakened—Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758
"Ghost Fleet Awakened—Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758"
Wednesday, June 2, 2021 | 7:00 PM | Virtual via Zoom
$5/household | HRMM members FREE
Maritime archaeologist and author Joseph W. Zarzynski will present a PowerPoint talk on a sunken fleet of historic warships at Lake George, New York that date to the French & Indian War (1755-1763). In the autumn of 1758, the British deliberately sank 260 bateaux, 25-35 ft. long wooden vessels. This “wet storage” of their wooden battlecraft protected them from French marauders over the winter of 1758-1759. Many of these flat-bottomed boats were not recovered by the British in 1759. Then two-centuries later, in 1960, two scuba divers rediscovered about a dozen submerged bateaux, vessels newspapers dubbed the “ghost fleet.” The ancient shipwrecks were first studied by the Adirondack Museum in the early 1960s, when three bateaux were raised and conserved. From 1987-2011, Zarzynski directed a team of volunteer archaeological divers, known as Bateaux Below, that studied many of these rare boats. The author’s presentation will explore the history of these utilitarian watercraft, their deliberate sinking by the British to protect them, their rediscovery and archaeological study, and educational programs that have informed the public about these colonial-era bateaux. In 1992, Bateaux Below succeeded in getting seven 1758 sunken bateaux listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1993, those shipwrecks became part of an underwater state park for divers called—Lake George’s Submerged Heritage Preserves. In 2019, Zarzynski’s book Ghost Fleet Awakened—Lake George’s Sunken Bateaux of 1758 (288 pages) was published by SUNY Press.
Joseph W. Zarzynski is a professional maritime archaeologist and an award-winning documentarian. He is the author or co-author of six books--three on shipwreck archaeology, two about underwater mysteries, and one book on documentary filmmaking for archaeologists. The retired educator lives in Saratoga County, New York.
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