May 21, 2016 dinner talk was on recovery of Civil War submarine

Robert Neyland an underwater archaeologist, spoke on the archaeology of the Confederate Submarine H.L. Hunley at the ECWG’s May 21 dinner at the Cosmos Club in Washington, D.C.

In August 2000, archeologists raised the H.L. Hunley from the Atlantic Ocean off Charleston, S.C.

Neyland, who has a doctorate in anthropology from Texas A&M University, was Project Director for the raising and conservation of the Hunley. He is the Head of the Underwater Archaeology Branch for the Navy’s History and Heritage Command.

He discussed the archaeology of Hunley from its discovery through recovery, excavation, and identification and reburial of the 8 crew members,   concluding with the current theories of why it was lost and the status of the ongoing conservation and analysis.

The ship had been named for her inventor, Horace Lawson Henley.

During his career Neyland has worked on a variety of shipwreck sites including:

  • a Bronze Age shipwreck in the Mediterranean
  • post-medieval wrecks in the Netherlands
  • shipwrecks in the Caribbean and North America.

As Underwater Archaeologist with the U.S. Navy he and his team also surveyed the USS Housatonic (the sloop sunk by Hunley), the Civil War shipwrecks USS Cumberland, CSS Florida, and Revolutionary War shipwrecks lost in Penobscot River, Maine.

He also studied World War 2  wrecks lost off Normandy, France, searched for Capt John Paul Jones’, Bonhomme Richard, and surveyed the lost War of 1812 fleet of Commodore Joshua Barney, which was scuttled in the Patuxent River, Maryland just days before the British burned Washington D.C.

During his career he has worked on a variety of shipwreck sites: a Bronze Age shipwreck in the Mediterranean, post-medieval wrecks in the Netherlands, and shipwrecks in the Caribbean and North America.

As an underwater archaeologist with the US Navy he and his team surveyed USS Housatonic (the sloop sunk by Hunley), Civil War shipwrecks USS Cumberland, CSS Florida, Revolutionary War shipwrecks lost in Penobscot River, Maine, WWII wrecks lost off Normandy, France, searched for Capt John Paul Jones’ Bonhomme Richard, and surveyed the lost War of 1812 fleet of Commodore Joshua Barney scuttled in the Patuxent River, Maryland just days before Washington DC was burned by the British.

The Hanley is now at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, S.C. More information about the Hanley and visiting the Center is available on the Friends of the Huntley Web site.

 

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