Current and Recent ISI Projects

Mackinac Island American Landing Survey, 2015-2016
ISI is currently working under an American Battlefield Protection Grant of the National Park Service to survey Mackinac Island at the site of the August 4, 1814 battle between American landing forces and British and allied Native troops. This collaboration brought together East Carolina University's Program in Maritime Studies, the Mackinac State Park and ISI in an effort to locate, map and analyze any archeological remains of the landing on the northwest island beachhead. The survey, which took place in September 2014, for the bicentennial of the battle, used visual and remote sensing equipment to search the waters off the beachhead for evidence of the American fleet presence or the U.S. Army's retreat after the battle.

Mackinac Island Conservation Project, 2014
ISI conserved nearly 60 artifacts donated to the Mackinac State Park by civic-minded divers who recovered shipwreck artifacts before current legislation discouraged such practice. Water soaked artifacts ranged from the mid-19th century to the early 20th century and included ceramics, metals, and glass. Some objects as complex as steam whistles, revolvers, and a pocket watch, stretched the boundaries of time and science but are all being cleaned and stabilized using various processes including electrolytic reduction, galvanic reduction, abrasive blasting, chemical stain and ion removal. Final treatment will include rinses and coatings to ensure their future.

Sturgeon Bay, 2013
In the summer of 2013, Dr. Rodgers led an archaeological survey team from East Carolina University to document the remains of the Schooner barge Adriatic in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. The Adriatic was the second self-unloading vessel put into use on the Great Lakes, a harbinger of the massive present day self-unloading bulk carriers that roam the region. The survey included an accurate measured drawing of the site accurate to the ship's fasteners over its 200 foot length, as well as video representations of the vessel created by ISI's advanced color sonar to create a 3D rendition of the sunken vessel.

Corolla 17th Century Wreck Site, 2010-2011
In the summer of 2010, Dr. Rodgers was brought in to help identify a large piece of wreckage that washed up on North Carolina's Outer Banks. It was soon apparent to Dr. Rodgers that the wreckage represented one of the earliest vessels yet discovered on the East Coast of the U.S. possibly dating to the early part of the 17th century. He brought in a team from ECU to document the ship down to its repairs and ship construction details. Entirely built of compass timbers and wooden fasteners, the wreck represents an English galleon. Why it washed up from deep water is unclear. The wreckage has been recovered and delivered to the Shipwreck Museum at Hatteras Island for display and conservation.

The Bowling Farm Contact Colonial Site, 2009
This on-going project conducted by Dr. Rodgers and ISI Operations Manager Theresa Hicks may be one of the most compelling archaeological sites on the east coast. The project began in 2009 in Northeastern North Carolina on the Bowling Farm site, where, in typical fashion the site was revealed at low water in the Cashie River, and reported to Dr. Rodgers by the farm owners Bob and Becky Bowling. Investigation revealed not only a late 17th or early 18th century shipwreck in the river, but also the presence of a large submerged wharf and a land occupation component. Investigations since have revealed that the site may have been occupied before the Tuscarora Wars of 1711-1713 and likely represent a trading post or mixed occupation village site. Artifacts include mixed colonial and Native American ceramics and food detritus. This site may be our first archaeological glimpse into early pre-plantation colonial North Carolina.