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High School Students in Michigan Discover Shipwrecks with NOAA Archaeologists

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

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Tenth grader Yer Vang assists our friend and colleague Dr. Jim Delgado, a NOAA maritime archaeologist, on a project in the Great Lakes which let young people work with archaeologists on the search for sunken wrecks. Here in the nation's oldest port, LAMP archaeologists have been incorporating high school students into our underwater archaeology programs since 1999.

Congratulations to our friends and colleagues with NOAA's Marine Sanctuaries program, for a successful project using maritime archaeology to expand the horizons of regular kids. This same goal has been core to our mission at the First Light Maritime Society since the founding of LAMP in 1999, and in fact we pioneered what we believe to be the first program to team high school students with underwater archaeologists to work side by side on historic shipwreck sites. I thought I'd salute our colleagues who were so successful at a similar program, albeit one unique and exciting in its own right.

Working with the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron, which boasts hundreds of well-preserved shipwrecks in its frigid depths, a group of high school kids participating in NOAA's Project Shiphunt recently discovered two shipwrecks over a century old.

This quote from student Tierrea Billings sums up why we get kids involved with archaeology:

"I'm so used to, you know, being in the class room and being in one place and just being here. But when, like, I got to go out there and experience all this different technology and things that I never even heard of, it made me realize that there's so much that the world has to offer..."
ALPENA — Five Arthur Hill High School students spent much of their summer locating two shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Huron.

Juniors Tiesha Anderson, James E. Willett and Yer Vang and seniors Tierrea Billings and Cody Frost, began searching for ships in May through "Project Shiphunt" a archaeological expedition sponsored by Sony and Intel.

The group of students were teamed with James Delgado, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration nautical archaeologist and former chief scientist for the mapping the Titanic shipwreck.

The group discovered the wreck of the 138-foot schooner M.F. Merrick which sank in 1889 and the wreck of the steel freighter Etruria, which sank in 1905.

The five students spent their time searching for ships, investigating them and will document the wrecks in 3-D.

“By exposing them to this aspect of science ... (it will) inspire them to take the technology to the next step and next generation,” Delgado said in May.


Watch interviews with the kids here . . .

And check out NOAA's Project Shiphunt page for more information on the kids, the discovered wrecks, and more videos.

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