Research Design

The on-going Maple Leaf Project is tentatively slated to last three years. The goal of the project research design for field activities will provide comprehensive site documentation and assessment of the vessel's structure and the material in the cargo spaces (Cantelas 1992). The recommendations generated by this study will be used to plan future research and direct excavation work.

The goals planned for 1992 concentrated on three areas of investigation and met with varying degrees of success. An analysis of the site environment and site formation processes was one objective. This was to include water and sediment analysis, examining a possible freshwater intrusion in the aft cargo hold, and researching the regional geology and geography. The aft cargo hold was examined but other field testing was postponed until 1993.

A second objective was to document the forward deck from the bow to the engineering spaces. Any remains of the vessel's superstructure were to be recorded as well. To accomplish this, a rigid barrier was designed and fabricated to keep sediment from filling in the excavation. The barrier proved very successful and ECU students mapped 50 ft. of the forward deck (Figure 5).

A third objective involved a test excavation in the forward hold to determine the type, condition and arrangement of the cargo packed in this space. The major goal was to assess the damage to the artifact material caused by the torpedo explosion and other post-sinking site formation processes.