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10 Sep 2008
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Archaeology Weekend at Lake Champlain Maritime Museum

Hundreds of old shipwrecks lie at the bottom of Lake Champlain, well preserved by its chilly waters.

September is Archaeology Month in Vermont and there are a number of interesting events open to the public. One of the main events is this weekend at the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum located near Vergennes, a few miles south of Burlington.

The museum has long been active in marine archaeology and its staff has helped in the locating and documenting of many shipwrecks lying at the bottom of the lake, some of them dating back to the Revolutionary War.

This weekend the museum will be showing three films: one about a gunboat from Benedict Arnold's fleet still lying at the bottom of the lake; the second about the birch bark canoe as used by native Americans and showing the construction of a replica of a canoe from the 1600's; and a third film presenting the findings of the Middlebury College ten year sonar survey of the lake bottom.

Visitors can work the Shipwreck Simulator to learn the skills of documenting a shipwreck site and take a behind- the-scenes tour of the Conservation Lab to meet the archaeologists working to preserve timbers from 1809 steamboat Vermont.

There will also be on-water boat excursions to the site of a shipwreck where visitors can watch a Remotely Operated Vehicle descend to the wreck and transmit back images to the on-board monitor. Space is limited on this excursion so register in advance by calling (802) 475-2022.

These events take place both Saturday, September 13 and Sunday, September 14 from 1:00pm-3:00pm. There is a discounted price for Archaeology Weekend of $10 per person, less than half the usual cost of $22 per person.

On Sunday, there will also be a canoe paddle to the site of an ancient Native American village near the confluence of Dead Creek and Otter Creek. This is a short canoe trip led by LCMM Staff Archaeologists who will show artifacts, give stone tool-making demonstrations, and lead a fish netting activity to catch the same fish species that Native Americans came here to catch centuries ago. This event is Sunday, September 14 from 9:30am - 3:30pm. $40/adults; $15/age 15 and under

In addition to these events, there are exhibits you can see including a photographs showing the seasons and "moods" of Lake Champlain taken by both professional and amateur photographers.

Another exhibit is called Fish Stories. It tells the stories of a number of Lake Champlain’s eighty-one fish species – through a fish-eye lens. The exhibit includes paintings by local artists, recordings of “fishing stories” by seasoned Lake Champlain anglers, descriptions of Abenaki and Iroquois fishing practices, and examples of fishing equipment used over the centuries.

Maritime Machines is another current exhibit which consists of interactive stations around the museum where visitors can experience first-hand the specialized machines of the maritime trade. This includes a working steam engine of the 1893 steamboat Comet, a Windlass where visitors can actually move a heavy stone block across the ground, a set of working bilge pumps, a scale-model waterwheel powering a miniature sawmill and grist mill, bosun’s chairs where visitors hoist themselves up like sailors do, plus others.

(c) 2008 Jeff Connor Grunberg Haus Inn
posted by  grunhaus at  20:25