The remains of a ship from the 1700s found at the World Trade Center site were moved to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory last week. All sorts of experts, from tree scientists to conservators, are working hard on understanding more about the ship's origins. Warren Riess, professor of maritime history and archeology at the University of Maine and lead investigator, told the Washington Post, "It's a mystery. It's like a detective story."
Due to the hundreds of years the ship remained preserved in the muddy ground, the wood is now very fragile. A conservator explained to the Daily News, "If wood is allowed to dry out, it will crack, shrink, warp... Cleaning them allows us to see the surface detail. We can see tool marks. We can see the nails. Every piece of information is adding a piece to the puzzle to help us understand this ship." It's hoped that the ship can be reassembled, if the materials make it.
Riess said, "The shipwrights who built this obviously knew what they were doing. It would have been able to take a storm or two, but it doesn't look like it was so strongly made to go across the Atlantic." He believes, based on the ship's probable 70' by 18' side, it was "just about right to make long-distance trips up the coast: New York, Virginia, Boston, maybe even the West Indies." For NYC history and archeology nerds, here are more photos of the team working on the ship.