I. Assess previous field work.
A. Compile a technical report on previous field work.
1. Identify and describe all work on the site prior to 1992.
a. General condition of the vessel.
b. Structural details.
c. Extent of excavation.
II. Assess conservation procedures.
A. Review conservation procedures and evaluate the ability of the conservation laboratory.
B. Revise conservation treatments if necessary.
1. Written procedural manual for conserving all material types expected from site.
2. Build a small conservation reference library.
C. Acquire additional materials and equipment for the laboratory to make any needed improvements in accordance with the evaluation.
1. Inventory all conservation facilities, materials and equipment.
D. Assess artifact transportation and storage facilities and make improvements if necessary.
III. Analyze site environment.
A. Research site formation processes and regional hydrology.
B. Test river water.
1. Chemical composition and temperature range.
2. Tidal activity.
C. Test the sub-bottom environment.
1. River silt characteristics, composition and depth.
2. Biological and chemical factors effecting the wreck.
D. Examine an apparent ground water intrusion in the stern cargo hold to determine its effect on the vessel.
IV. Conduct historical background research.
A. Career on Lake Ontario.
1. Constructed in Kingston, Ontario.
a. Building specifications.
2.Commercial service on Lake Ontario.
B. Service during the American Civil War.
1. Identify any construction modifications made by the U.S. Army.
2. Service history while under lease to the Federal Government.
C. The last voyage and loss of the vessel.
1. Confederate activity on the Saint Johns River.
2. Circumstances of the last voyage.
3. Reported damage caused by torpedo.
D. Salvage activity during the 19th Century.
1. What destructive activities occurred to the vessel.
2. Determine if any cargo or machinery was recovered from the vessel.
E. Determine the type of cargo the Maple Leaf carried when lost.
1. Where was it stowed and how was it packed.
a. Sutler stores and tents are reported in the forward hold.
b. Previous excavation confirmed the presence of personal belongings in the aft hold.
V. Field activities.
A. Site preparation.
1. Establish a permanent datum at the bow and stern.
2. Place moorings off the bow and stern to keep vessels anchored off the site.
3. Experiment with an underwater silt barrier to increase visibility on the site by diverting the silt layer flowing along the bottom.
B. Fore deck investigation.
a. Expose and map the fore deck from the bow to the engineering spaces.
b. Document the remains of the superstructure if they are found among the debris overlying the deck.
c. Locate the forward cargo hatch for a planned excavation in the forward hold.
a. Construct a silt barrier around the bow.
b. Remove the sediment within the barrier down to the deck level.
(1) Use one or more water induction dredges with catch bags.
(a) Turbidity from dredge exhaust must be monitored according to permit requirements.
(2) Thick sediment may be terraced, depending on its stability.
(a) The exposed terraces will be covered with geotextile fabric or some other barrier to alleviate siltation problems.
(3) Recover overlying debris to determine whether it should be documented and/or kept for conservation.
(a) Artifacts and superstructure remains are significant.
(b) Package the remaining material in bulk and rebury it on the site.
c. Set up mapping quadrants
(1) Establish a center baseline close to the deck and a vertical reference datum.
d. Map and document all fore deck features.
(1) Plan map.
(2) Vertical profiles.
(3) Photograph and videotape.
C. Forward Cargo Hold Excavation.
a. Determine the condition of the hold, what materials are present, and how they are packed.
(1) Historic documentation suggests the hold contains sutler stores and tents.
(2) Examine and assess damage caused by the mine explosion.
b. Recover a sample of sutlers stores not to exceed the ability of the conservation lab.
a. For safety considerations, all work within the hull will use surface supplied air.
b. Locate the cargo hatch and determine if this is the best access point to enter the hold.
c. Maintain a barrier around the access hole to prevent the excavation from filling in.
d. Set up mapping system that can be used inside the hull.
e. Excavate with water induction dredges.
f. Record provenience, associations, and context of material encountered and recovered.
g. Recover a selected sample of material.
(1) Material that is not retained for conservation will be recorded and returned to the vessel.
D. Artifact conservation.
1. Preparations for artifact recovery, transportation, storage, conservation, and curation will be made in advance.
2. Artifact recovery.
a. Individual artifacts or lots will be cataloged as soon as they reach the surface.
b. Unstable material will be documented immediately.
3. Artifact conservation.
a. Treatment will normally follow established procedures but the conservation of unique and/or delicate artifacts may be contracted out or follow the advice of a conservator familiar with the material.
4. Artifacts analysis.
a. After conservation, artifacts will be measured, drawn, photographed, identified, and researched.
b. Destructive and nondestructive material analysis techniques will be used as necessary.
5. Long term curation is the responsibility of SJAEI, the Jacksonville Museum of Science and History and the U.S. Army Center for Military History.
VI. Report on the 1992 Maple Leaf Project.
A. Site formation processes and site environment.
B. Continued historical background research.
1. History of the vessel.
2. The vessel's role in the Civil War.
3. The history of the military units and individuals represented on the vessel.
C. Field methods and findings.
D. Artifact analysis.
E. Conclusions and recommendations.
VII. Provide a public outlet through educational activities and publications.
A. Publish The Maple Leaf: An Extraordinary American Civil War Shipwreck in 1992.
B. Hold a public forum in conjunction with the Jacksonville Museum of Science and History.
C. Distribute "Mystery of the Maple Leaf" on computer disk and video tape to schools and libraries.
D. Participate in public lectures and professional conferences.