Tuesday, July 31, 2012

JW Fishers Pulse 8X Metal Detectors Assist in Recovery of Shipwreck Artifacts

Main Photo: Cannon recovered from the Warwick,  Bottom Inset - diver searches wreck site with Pulse 8X and deep seeking 16 inch coil,
Top Inset - James Davidson with Pulse 8X and recovered cannon ball.
   In October 1619 the naval warship Warwick sailed into the King’s Castle Harbour in Bermuda with an important cargo from England; the colony’s new governor, Captain Nathaniel Butler. After taking on provisions the Warwick was to travel onto the struggling colony at JamestownVirginia, but it never made the voyage. Before the ship could sail,Bermuda was hit by a fierce hurricane. Battered by strong winds the Warwick broke free from her anchors, was driven into the rocky shore, and torn apart by the pounding waves.
   In 1969 Mendel Peterson of the Smithsonian Institution and now famous Bermudashipwreck hunter EB “Teddy” Tucker located the remains of the Warwick and began an examination of the wreckage. What they found was a good part of the hull remained preserved under a pile of ballast stone. Fast forward another 50 years and a new group working under the supervision of the island’s National Museum began a more extensive examination of the site and recovery of some significant historic artifacts. The museum enlisted some renowned experts in the field of marine archaeology to assist in the project. One is Dr. Jon Adams, head of archaeology at the University of Southampton who says “the Warwick is one of the largest and most coherent pieces of early 17th century ship structures ever found.” Dr. Kroum Batchvarov with the maritime archaeology program at the University of Connecticut adds “very few wrecks of the early seventeenth century have been excavated which has limited our knowledge of shipbuilding and seafaring in this period. This makes the archaeological excavation and documentation of the Warwick an important contribution to that body of knowledge.” Professor Kevin Crisman of the Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M also thinks this wreck holds enormous potential for educating archaeologists, historians, and the public. “It could illuminate the early years of England’s great century of overseas expansion, a time when the first English colonies were being planted in North America and around the world.”
   The location of Warwick’s remains makes it an ideal archaeological site. The wreckage lies in 15 to 30 feet of water in a protected harbor. Seventy feet of the hull structure is preserved and researchers are now beginning to excavate, record, and analyze it. During the work this summer divers recovered a cannon, navigational tools, rudder hardware, parts of barrels, and fragments of ceramic containers. One of tools aiding in the recovery work is JW Fishers Pulse 8X underwater metal detector. Diver James Davidson reports, “we have been quite successful with the detector finding a range of targets including cannon balls, musket shot, bar shot, and various lead artifacts at depths up to 3 feet below the seabed, and cannon buried as deep as 6 feet.”
   Professor Crisman says “Collectively these finds tell us an amazing story of the changes being wrought in Bermuda and around the world by mariners, merchants, and colonizers. The fabric of the Warwick, it’s framing timbers, planks, beams, and knees are also providing us with a new benchmark for understanding the ships that England sent around the world in the 17th century. We already know much more about the materials, design concepts and assembly practices of early English shipwrights than we did at the start of the excavation.”
   Another important archaeological project that is employing the underwater metal detector is the African Slave Wrecks Project. One of the primary objectives of the project is to locate and document the wreck sites of ships that carried slaves. Partners in this project include the IZIKO Museums of Cape Town in South Africa, the Slavery Museum of Angola, the US National Park Service Submerged Resource Unit, The Southern African Heritage Resources Agency, and George Washington University. The group intends to identify and preserve maritime cultural resources and promote them as tourism sites, an alternative to the commercialization of archaeological artifacts. Louis Mare, one of the researchers on the project reports, “We are very impressed with the Pulse 8X. In our first test on a local beach we recovered two cannon balls along with the usual coinage and some jewelry items. The team is now convinced this device will be an essential tool in our projects.”
   Other groups using JW Fishers detectors in their work are Center for Archaeological Studies at Texas State University, the Archaeological Institute at the University of West Florida, the Office of Underwater Science and Educational Resources at the Indiana University Bloomington, the underwater archaeology program at the University of Rhode Island, the Center for Marine Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M University, and the Israeli Antiquities Authority.
   For more information on JW Fishers metal detectors or their complete line of underwater search equipment go to www.jwfishers.com.

  JW Fishers Mfg.  Pulse 8X underwater metal detector
comes with everything needed for land & water detecting

 The Pulse 8X is a commercial grade underwater metal detector that works as well on land as it does in the water.  This detector will locate a variety of targets including jewelry, coins, shell casings, weapons, gold bars, anchors, ordnance, cannons, and pipelines.  The Pulse 8X uses state-of-the-art Pulse Induction (PI) technology to detect all metals, ferrous and nonferrous, while ignoring minerals in the environment such as salt water, coral, black sand, and high iron rocks.  Fishers detectors are not affected by the material between the metal object and the search coil.  The detection range remains the same whether detecting through air, water, silt, sand, soil, coral, or rock.  The detector has both audio and visual outputs. Audio is provided by an underwater earphone that tucks under the diver’s mask strap or into a hood.  The visual output is displayed on a large, easy to read meter.
   The 8X comes with a complete accessory package that has everything needed to use it on land, in the surf, or diving to depths up to 200 feet.  Included in the kit are land and underwater earphones, a PVC handle for underwater use, aluminum handle with telescoping coil shaft for land use, AC battery charger, DC battery charger, hip-mount kit, and a heavy duty cordura nylon carry bag.  Rechargeable batteries power the detector for 12 full hours. Batteries can easily be field replaced to provide around the clock operation. 
  One of the most unique features of Fishers detectors are the complete line of interchangeable coils available.  The optional coils available are a probe coil, 5 inch coil, 10 inch coil, 16 inch coil, 18 inch coil with 100 foot cable for boat deployment, and an 8 x 48 coil that is mounted on 4 small skis for dragging on the beach or in shallow water.
  For more information on the Pulse 8X go to www.jwfishers.com.  Click the Product tab at the top of the page, then click on hand-held metal detectors and Pulse 8X.

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