H.L. Hunley: History, Archaeology, and Conservation
of a Civil War Submarine
The H.L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink an
enemy ship in combat-the Union sloop USS Housatonic.
Later the same night (Feb. 17, 1864), the submarine and its
19-man crew vanished in the murky waters off Charleston, South
Plumb the fascinating depths of the Hunley's recovery
and conservation story, guided by a panel of experts directly
involved in this ambitious effort.
Adventure novelist Clive Cussler's team of underwater
archaeologists located the wreck of the Hunley off the
coast of South Carolina in 1995. The relic rivaled Jules Verne's
fictional Nautilus for ingenuity and prowess, according
to some historians.
Through slide-illustrated talks, the panelists reveal the
multidisciplinary efforts to excavate what was, in essence, a
time capsule from 1864. They discuss conservation efforts,
technology's role in textile recovery (including what is
believed to be the remains of Lt. George E. Dixon's pants, with
gold coin still in pocket), and forensic studies of the human
Claire Peachey, conservator/ underwater archaeologist
with the Underwater Archaeology team of the Naval Historical
Center, moderates. The panelists are project historian Mark
Ragan, senior archaeologist Maria Jacobsen, senior
conservator Paul Markikian, and National Museum of
Natural History textile conservator Mary Ballard. Each
worked on the Hunley project at the Warren Lasch
Conservation Laboratory in Charleston.
Location indicated on ticket.