Ship That Held Up Wall Street, Riess & Smith

Article number: 9781623491888
Availability: In stock (23)



April 25, 2024 Lecture

In January 1982, archaeologists conducting a pre-construction excavation at 175 Water Street in Lower Manhattan found the remains of an eighteenth-century ship. Uncertain what they had found or what its value might be, they called in two nautical archaeologists- Warren Riess and Sheli Smith- to direct the excavation and analysis of the ship's remains. As it turned out, the mystery ship's age and type meant that its careful study would help answer some important questions about the commerce and transportation of an earlier era of American history.

The Ship that Held Up Wall Street tells the whole story of the discovery, excavation, and study of what came to be called the "Ronson ship site", named for the site's developer, Howard Ronson. Entombed for more than 200 years, the Princess Carolina proved to be the first major discovery of a colonial merchant ship. Given only one winter month for the fieldwork, the large crew excavated and recorded the site, saving the first eighteen feet of the bow for preservation. When they finished their fieldwork, Riess and Smith started both the analysis and conservation of the artifacts.

Years of arduous analytical work have led to critical breakthroughs revealing how the ship was designed and constructed, its probably identity as a vessel built in Charleston, South Carolina, its history as a merchant ship, and why and how it came to be buried in Manhattan. The Ronson ship has provided important information about the British Empire's eighteenth-century growth, colonial America's industry and economy, and Manhattan's development. The ship's bow timbers and artifacts are now housed at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, Virginia.

The book does more than just detail the findings of this particular investigation, however. It also gives the reader a better sense of what a nautical archaeologist's job entails. Written in an engaging style, The Ship that Held Up Wall Street provides easily accessible description and explanation of this important excavation and study.

Hardcover, 100 pages. Authors: Warren C. Riess and Sheli O. Smith. All book sales are final.


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