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Secrets of WTC Shipwreck Sleuthed Out

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Michelle Jahn
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« on: September 11, 2011, 01:10:18 am »

So once the team did their own grueling process of slowly drying the timbers, waiting to see if the wood would decay, then sanding the samples, and counting the rings, sometimes as thin as one thousandth of a millimeter, and hoping each sample would provide at least 100 years of rings to make the sample comparable to other chronologies then the scientists got started looking for a match. They used a computer system to compare their samples with chronologies of forests from the New York State's Hudson Valley and then took a stab at a historical timber chronology they have from Philadelphia, "and that just about nailed it – really good," said Pederson.

Ship-timbers-macWhen the wreck was first found the archeologists were confused as to whether they were looking at the front (stem) or back (stern) of the vessel. Turns out the sloop was rounded at both ends. Last month the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey excavated behind a concrete wall, where archeologists from the firm AKRF hoped to find remnants from the bow, where the figurehead and bowsprit thrust forward over the curving stem, the part of the sailboat that forms a bowshock of cresting waves and a good place to look for dolphins when under sail.

Eventually AKRF did recover a large portion of the structural part of the front of the boat. Now that material is with the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M University, where Director Kevin Crisman and his team are assisting the excavators with storage of the timbers. Alum and archeologist Carrie Fulton, now at Cornell University, spent a week cleaning, inspecting, and recording the new finds using stereophotography to generate 3D models.
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