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The strange case of the missing NYC landmark…

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In ArchaeoSeek
The strange case of the missing NYC landmark…
Posted by George J. Myers, Jr. on March 19, 2009 at 10:00am
At io9 there is an interesting posting: “Digging Deep: 24 Science Fiction Archaeologists”
I commented:
“The excavation on the Moon in Kubrick’s and Clarke’s “2001 A Space Odyssey” was archaeological I thought, though I don’t recall who was in charge. From the original short story and idea I think “The Sentinel” by Arthur C. Clarke. Conforms to the idea of archaeology unleashing some unknown force as stated here, like in “The Exorcist” by excavating something unknown, like a “devil pipe” on a site I worked on that had a ship buried in it in lower Manhattan years ago.”

I stated at Facebook when asked for the name of the ship buried in Manhattan referred to above in one of the last parking lots, the “Ronson” ship. We found it, I and an African American and a backhoe operator, West Point MP during WWII in the last test of three permitted, they were intent on excavating in the backyards there the archaeologists. They represented a British consortium that became National Westminster Bank. It was a “trailer truck” of the 18th century thought built before 1740 about 80′ by 25′, which we know little about, the warships however much ado about everything. They gave us from Dec to March to empty it out and document parts of it and the bow was taken out and conserved at Newport News Mariners Museum, VA the “apple-cheek” type it was called. Ship worms (teredo) of the N. Atlantic and Caribbean in it IDed by a biologist. Some frags of a woman’s jaw too were found I was told but not publicly described. It was a hulk used to create landfill along the former shore.”
And:
“One of the archaeologists thought it was the derelict stated in the city council meeting minutes as a nuisance though a location was not given. Very early in New Amsterdam there’s also cited an “old shipwreck” nearby Philippe du Trieux whose property became the Isaac Allerton Warehouse, outside the Wall for the English doing business there. Isaac Allerton is reburied in New Haven in the cemetery Yale University maintains. He’s also named in Allerton Ave. in the Bronx a large street, the exit between the Bronx Zoo and the Botanical Gardens on the oldest motor parkway in the US the Bronx River Parkway. He kept a home in New Haven had business in Maine and “abandoned” the Pilgrims, he a Puritan, apparently a partial construction’s archaeology discovered discussed “In Small Things Forgotten” by J. Deetz. Once upon a time a monument erected by the Mayflower Society was up in the Seaport, across the street from where Alfred E. Smith grew up, first Catholic to run for President, I reported.”

The Alabama Escapes

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The clandestine construction led to Great Britain paying ~ $20 million in Switzerland, I read, perhaps one of the first international reparations there. They had also built a class of ‘Scorpion’ ships for the Confederacy, stopped, led to the modern British battleship. I was told while we were excavating the ‘Parrott platform’ in Cold Spring, NY (used in the ‘Swamp Angel’) then President Lincoln might have threatened GB with a 20 or so vessel fleet of Alligator submarines, the first recently sought by the NOAA, lost off North Carolina in a stormy tow. Not too far-fetched given it was ordered up the Appomattox River, stopped by very low water, perhaps in a regional drought? Admiral Cornwallis was once ordered by King George to sail up the Bronx River to beat the rebels in White Plains. A fleet of canoes I think was never built. Maybe it was dry then too?     NY Times Opinionator

2010 Battle of the Atlantic Expedition

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National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Marine Sanctuaries

The Merchant Vessels: City of Atlanta

From some of the research I’ve managed to find out about its captain Leman Chapman Urquhart, born in Canada on Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick in the village of Castalia, it can be seen that he was not the regular captain of the ship. It had many previous captains, for a short time, according to the record read. The ship itself was laid down in 1903 in West Chester, Pennsylvania and I recall converted, perhaps during its construction, from coal to oil. He was my maternal grandfather’s brother, Lawrence George Urquhart’s older brother and other siblings grew up on the island, though in my grandfather’s time Lawrence enlisted in the Canadian Army fighting in Europe when he was, we hope, 16 (not 15). Leman C. Urquhart was a “Master Mariner” according to his business card and employed as a harbor pilot in the Savannah, Georgia harbor. They had both worked for “Savannah Lines” I think I recall him saying. My grandfather was later a crash-boat operator for flights out of New York near the current LaGuardia Airport. The City of Atlanta berthed in New York City and Savannah, Georgia making regular trips between the two cities. The NY Harbor-Sandy Hook Pilot’s Association thought, war declared, ships tied up in various rules and applications and perhaps having a harbor pilot as the captain, City of Atlanta may have an easier egress from the port of New York. Later correspondence about its wreckage stated since it was sunk purposefully to be a hazard to shipping, it may have been cleared by wire to some degree and is still cited as a hazard. The whole area off the North Carolina coast is a danger to magnetic compass bearings, warning on the navigation charts that anomalous magnetic readings are likely to be encountered.

At the base of a flagpole I recall is printed his name and other islanders who died for our freedom. We were then visiting the house my grandfather had bought in North Head, Grand Manan Island, N.B. As youngsters too young to travel much there, he later sold it to two school teachers on the island. The flagpole is just out-front of the church between two brass cannons, marked “Eccles”.

There is also a volume about the The Second Happy Time (Wikipedia) codenamed Operation Paukenschlag or: Operation Drumbeatbilled as “The Dramatic True Story of Germany’s First U-boat Attacks Along The American Coast In World War II,” by author: Michael Gannon, publisher: Harper Perennial in 1991 (review by Daryl Carpenter). Brought to their attention, perhaps “Lehman Urquart” that is the Leman Chapman Urquhart name will be corrected in the second edition.

Written by georgejmyersjr

07/15/2012 at 5:23 pm

DiscoveryNews: Jars Hint at Amelia Earhart as Castaway: Photos

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I read online this creme was confiscated and destroyed (google doc) by the USDA for libelous packaging, in fact containing near 12% mercury. May 15, 1912 and ordered destroyed by the marshal. Perhaps however, the "retro" looking bottle was produced by the Owens Corning glass company for some pharmaceutical business that then produced another mixture, i.e., one that the FDA wouldn’t be concerned with, which ended up in Amelia Earhart’s "kit".  DiscoveryNews

Jamaica’s Port Royal Seeks World Heritage Status

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I worked with two underwater archaeologists who had worked for a short time in Port Royal while excavating the so-called “Ronson Ship” buried at a former dock or slip in NYC. The ship, from the dead “teredo” or shipworms found in it showed the ship had been in the Caribbean and North Atlantic according to biologists. Maybe there? The point is, Port Royal could be used as a “time capsule” by which we can look at other finds, serendipitous or otherwise. And despite its “reputation” was an important port of call in the early days of nation formation and should be protected by UNESCO. It’s also a very easily accessible dive, for many, unlike others that require more danger, from the sea, equipment and entanglements another reason to keep its exceptional archaeological sites. Besides, where else can you find the “wrath of the maker”? Huffington Post

Written by georgejmyersjr

05/31/2012 at 3:11 pm

Comment: Pearl Harbor Memorial by Dan Rather

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As an archaeology tech in the US surprised I am by a few recent events in this regard. Testing a new R.O.V. for underwater survey they discovered one of the mini-subs was sunk by the US with a hole to the base of the conning tower. They state that from the records, it was the first shot fired at the battle. Recent film analysis shows one in the inner harbor, attacking by torpedo. Maybe you’ve seen that film James Caan was in, about Allied mini-subs "Submarine X-1" (1969).

I read Mainichi Shimbun ("Daily News") a non-native researcher lamented the lack of research in the days that led directly to the battle. He or she had uncovered a story of "too late" translated "declaration of war" which one would assume was for diplomats. An unusually warm December day brought the translators to a burial service, outside, D.C. The minister took advantage of fine weather, stretching it to a two hour service. They got back too late on a weekend to translate the communiqué. The researcher suggests we go back to piece back the events. Germany declared war shortly after it, and began "Operation Drumbeat" sending US ships at sea in coastal and international waters to the bottom. My grand-dad’s brother, Leman Urquhart, was captain of the "SS City of Atlanta" and lost with over 40 others, sunk in that January after the December "Day of Infamy".

Huffington Post 5/30/2012

Written by georgejmyersjr

05/31/2012 at 2:56 pm

NY Times: Opinionator: Why Shiloh Matters

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My grand-dad Lawrence Urquhart served on the S.S. Beauregard which I recall was on the Lend-Lease "Murmansk run" convoy to aid Russia when his brother, as captain of the S.S. City of Atlanta, was lost with 40+ crew and passengers on the way from NYC to Savannah, Georgia, sunk by U-123 in "Operation Drumbeat". I once, working on the archeology of the Tennessee-Tombigbee Barge Canal, had the opportunity to visit nearby Shiloh from MS. I have also worked in the Cold Spring, NY periphery of the West Point Foundry and would like to point out that the "cannonballs" atop the rifled R.P. Parrott vertical cannon in the tribute to "Col. Everett Peabody" were never actually part of the cannon. It fired a shell with a brass "sabot" or foot to impart the twist of the barrel "rifling" and contained incendiary, perhaps, as used in the "Swamp Angel" bombardment of Charleston, South Carolina, also noted in poem, one by Herman Melville. Perhaps added later, and not actually used in the battle. I’ve also read that the origin of American "protest folk music" in music history began with this horrendous battle. Comment submitted: “Why Shiloh Matters” – Winston Groom, April 6. 2012

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