Conservation and Management Strategies Applied to Post-Recovery Analysis of the American Civil War Submarine H. L. Hunley (1864)



The 12-m long submarine H. L. [Horace Lawson] Hunley was successfully recovered from the Atlantic in August 2000 after nearly 140 years of immersion, and immediately brought to the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to be excavated in a controlled environment. In 2001 a multi-disciplinary team excavated the crew compartment and uncovered numerous fragile artefacts and human remains. This paper describes the conduct of the excavation and technological advancements developed to work with this complex and unstable iron vessel. Impressed current technologies, automated tank controls and water monitoring systems; laser mapping; fibre-optics; database management; in situ x and gamma rays; moulding and protection of fragile archaeological features; and protocols for moving artefacts to the laboratory will also be discussed.

© 2004 The Nautical Archaeology Society