Summer Field School 2022: Mallows Bay

Graduate students take offset measurements on “Bayou Teche.”

The Maritime Studies 2022 summer field school took place in the Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, located in Nanjemoy, Maryland. Led by Dr. Nathan Richards and Dr. Jason Raupp, over the course of 4-weeks, students, staff, and a host of collaborators recorded the remains of two Emergency Fleet ships of the Ferris-design: “Aowa” (1919-1924) and “Bayou Teche” (1918-1925). Additionally, the ferrous-hulled ex-ferry “Accomac” (1928-c.1973) was studied.

While the field school had the didactic goals of training students in a range of shipwreck recording techniques in restricted visibility, we were also able to engage in interdisciplinary work aimed to inform state and federal cultural resource managers about the stability and fragility of the assemblage of ships. This included the collection of timber density data, and beginning the process of collecting information to establish environmental parameter baselines. We hope to come back soon to continue the process of monitoring site changes over the next few years.

Field team documents the stern section of shipwreck

Dr. Jason Raupp and PhD student Allyson Ropp document the stern section of “Aowa.”

The field school could not have happened without the support of:

Thanks also to our partners with ECU Department of Biology (Dr. Erin Field’s Lab) and our Diving and Water Safety Office (ECU Department of Coastal Studies). We also appreciate the support of the ECU Thomas Harriot College of Arts & Sciences. Last but not least, we have to give shout outs to our incredible hosts at Melwood Recreation Center and to the Forest Products Lab of the U.S. Forest Service for helping us with timber species identification.