This post comes from one of AAA’s 2016 summer interns, Kory Cooper, an anthropology student at Missouri State University.
I can’t imagine a better place to work than the NHHC’s Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB). Stationed out of the Washington Navy Yard, the amazing people at the UAB work to protect and preserve sunken military craft – from airplanes to warships. The people at the UAB taught me more about underwater archaeology than I could have hoped for. By the end of my first week we were in the field running a hydro-probe into the sediment in search of a lost Revolutionary War flotilla.
It was an adventure. Armed with wetsuits, to protect against exposure in the Patuxent, we surveyed large sections of the river and recorded our data on the survey vessel Bullwhip. The next week we took Bullwhip, an old Navy patrol-boat, all the way down the Patuxent River to the Chesapeake Bay and made contact with the Institute of Maritime History (IMH) to see what data they had collected on the new site. At the new survey sites in the Chesapeake Bay we searched for six lost naval aircraft that sunk in the waters of the surrounding area. This required the use of side-scanning sonar systems attached to our boat, and volunteer IMH divers that would investigate promising locations.
Back in the office I wrote blog reports, edited the project overview, and helped the team put together a portfolio of specific shipwrecks based on hard-copy files and online resources. This compiled data was given to a group of Navy divers that would be investigating the wrecks the following week. My time at the UAB was a remarkable experience and I would love to go back and work with them again as soon as possible. During my short time there I learned an incredible amount about how underwater archaeology is done in the field and in the office, as well as made some amazing friends.
Interested in supporting the AAA Internship Program? Make a donation to the Intern Program Endowment Fund!