Shelley, congratulations on your very impressive prospectus. Best wishes for your own work on the freshwater environs.
50 degrees south and discover
its hidden secrets
In December 2010, and January and February 2011, the Campbell Island Bicentennial Expedition, (CIBE) was on Campbell Island. The cultural heritage team; archaeologists Steve Bagley and Nigel Prickett, with me as guide, were on the island for 5 weeks in January and February 2011 to assess and record 50 historic sites. Several sites were tested to further ascertain site importance.
Within a day of our arrival, our transporting vessel, Maia, (Mark Hammond), took most expedition members to Monument Harbour, where Nigel and Steve went ashore to look at potential sealing sites on the western side of the harbour.
While others explored ashore, Maia’s First Mate ferried me back and forth across the harbour in an IRB trailing an Aquascan AX2000 magnetometer that I’d borrowed at some personal expense. My ignorance with the device and a faulty coaxial didn’t allow several readings to get beyond calibration stage. The unusually high calibration readings seen close into the east shore about 150m out from the Six Foot Lake outlet, I was later told, could not be taken as indications of iron objects on the sea bed there.
On 21 January, while I was laid up sick in camp, Nigel, Steve and Shelley McMurtrie (Expedition co-ordinator and freshwater biologist) were able to revisit the Monument Harbour site.
Shelley, Steve and Nigel unearthed, measured and photographed the beam and uplifted one of the two iron pins that had fallen from the decaying beam into a nearby hollow. Two and a half metres west of the beam was a 1.8m long by 75X50mm plank, weathered and scarred but sound, its centre part exposed by seals and its ends buried in the peat. Its position was 50cm lower than that of the beam. A sample was obtained from this timber to be analysed by Scion.
In 2007, Chris Glasson had said that the beam’s exposed surfaces had decayed markedly since 1972, and the 2011 team found this decay even more advanced - both iron pins visible at the end of the beam in the 2007 survey had fallen from the beam. The plank seen on the other side of the outlet stream in 2007 was gone – probably washed out to sea.
The iron pin will be analysed for source and era of manufacture - but first I need to find a database of iron smelting elements of the late 1700 - early 1800s. Can anyone please advise of such a database?
Here this blog ends, having described what we found at the harbour in 2007 and 2011. The next blog is a discussion about the possibilities that this material had come from a wreck within the harbour.
BLOG 5 ENDS