World Trade Center Ship – Cleaning and Still Cleaning

Cleaning continues with sponges, hoses, and toothbrushes all playing their part. Since the MAC Lab is a state-of-the-art conservation facility, you may think cleaning with anything less than state-of-the-art scientific equipment is oddly “low-tech”, and it is! It is also the gentlest, most careful way to remove dirt from historical timbers without damaging any surfaces, tool marks, nails or other inclusions that are on (or in) the possibly 200+ year old ship parts.

Using sponges and hoses

And toothbrushes for a “careful clean”

MAC Lab Tours

The Maryland Archaeological Conservation Laboratory is offering its final FREE themed tour of the summer at “3:00 on the 30th” of this month. With Labor Day just around the corner, learn about artifacts used by people in the past for work (and play) at this month’s guided tour of our state-of-the-art conservation, curation, and research lab. Join us August 30th!

Treating an assortment of iron tools

Visitors admire American Indian tools and pottery

*DID YOU KNOW? Tours of the Lab are also available by reservation for a small fee – any size group welcome! E-mail for more information or to make a reservation.

World Trade Center Ship – Cleaning Has Begun

Cleaning the enormous amount of wood from the late 18th- or early 19th-century ship discovered at the site of the World Trade Center has begun and the whole staff of the MAC Lab has taken on the challenge. All of our conservators, curators, and archaeologists are taking part in cleaning the mud and debris (and there’s LOTS of it) from the ship’s timbers. Cleaning is being done so that AKRF archaeologists can better analyze the ship parts. The goal is to learn as much as possible about the way the ship was built, what it was used for, where it may have traveled, and any (and all) other interesting information the remains of the ship can provide!

All hands on deck for cleaning

Ship Remains From the World Trade Center Arrive at the MAC Lab!

Wooden ship parts from the World Trade Center site have begun arriving at the MAC Lab for cleaning and analysis. Hundreds of carefully wrapped packages containing the wood have been offloaded from their travel containers and taken into the Mac Lab by Lab and JPPM staff. Conservators unwrapped much of the wood and laid it out for cleaning while, in another area, bins were being built for soaking the timbers after they are cleaned of the mud and debris that still coats them. Analysis of the ship is being done by AKRF, the firm that discovered the ship in New York, and AKRF’s archaeologists are currently at the MAC Lab continuing their documentation of the remains by measuring, drawing, and photographing each timber of the ship.

Lab staff unloading wrapped timbers from travel containers

Carefully placing unwrapped timbers on a tarp for cleaning

A portion of the unwrapped timbers ready and waiting

The 500+ lb apron of the ship being lifted by a crane

The World Trade Center, MAC Lab Staff, and That Ship You’ve Heard About

Have you been following the news stories about the buried remains of a ship discovered by AKRF archaeologists in New York City? A late 18th- or early 19th-century wooden ship was uncovered a couple of weeks ago during excavations at the site of the underground Vehicular Security Center and Tour Bus Parking Facility for the future World Trade Center. Well, RIGHT NOW (!), MAC Lab conservators are on site, in Manhattan, helping to carefully remove the ship timbers from their burial environment. JPPM and the MAC Lab are very pleased and proud to have been chosen to assist with this exciting project and, as the conservators report on their progress, we will keep you updated!

World Trade Center site, New York City, before work
begins for the day

MAC Lab conservator Nichole Doub
wrapping timbers

MAC Lab conservator Nancy Shippen keeping the timbers wet