H.L. Hunley, Conservation and Archaeological Study of the H. L. Hunley
Since 2007, Clemson University has managed the H.L. Hunley project. The submarine and project scientists are located at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center. The building lain empty until after the discovery of the submarine in August 1995, when it was remodeled specifically for the excavation and conservation of the H.L. Hunley submarine
The Warren Lasch Conservation Center has been conserving artifacts recovered from the CSS Alabama (1863) shipwreck for the US Navy since 2001. These artifacts include two 32-Pounders, a bronze bell, a live artillery shell in its wooden box, ceramics and a number of associated objects found in the concretions. During conservation, human bones belonging to one of the crew member were identified.
The Colonial Dorchester State Historic Site plays host to St. George’s Anglican Church, a significant feature in the colonial period of the area. The sanctuary, originally built in 1717, received authorization from the General Assembly in 1733 to construct a larger church onto which the bell tower was added in 1751. Through the centuries the church bore the brunt of fires and earthquakes and eventually fell into a state of disrepair. The bell tower is now the only feature that remains of the structure. A Cypress window frame is still present in one of the windows, a unique witness to the history of the area.
“Storage Improvement of Drayton Hall’s Archaeological collection”The Institute of Museum and Library Services awarded a grant to support carefully designed measures to improve the storage conditions of the Drayton Hall’s archaeological collection. The WLCC conservators helped record ferrous and non-ferrous metal artifacts from the Drayton Hall collection using X-radiography and photography. Moreover, the collection was re-stored in clear acrylic boxes enclosed and heat-sealed in impermeable bags, oxygen scavengers, and desiccants were placed in the bags creating a low humidity-anoxic environment.
Through a NSF award and the support of Clemson University, Dr. Melissa Vogel and her team are studying the ancient urban environment on the north coast of Peru. The research focuses on the site of El Purgatorio, a large urban center and the proposed capital city of the Casma polity. The site appears to have had a long occupation, from at least the Middle Horizon (AD600-1000) through most of the Late Intermediate Period (AD1000-1350). Conservator at the WLCC, Johanna Rivera traveled to Peru for the 2010 season to perform not only preventive conservation on recently excavated artifacts, but also packing and storage of artifacts such as metals, textiles, ceramics and a Chimu-Inca mummy.
Since 2008, the National Park Service has been collaborating with the Warren Lasch Conservation Center to research, design and implement novel conservation and preservation approaches to selected ordnance and architectural elements at Forts Moultrie and Sumter.
WLCC’s conservators were called to the Adger’s Wharf excavation site in downtown Charleston in August 2009, to give their opinion regarding the conservation of waterlogged artifacts. Shoes and wood fragments were found during the 2008 and 2009 seasons.
Waterlogged corks from the San Juan, a Spanish Basque Whaler that sank in the fall of 1565 in Red Bay, Labrador, Canada were excavated by Parks Canada between 1979 and 1985.
The WLCC received from the Queen Anne’s Revenge (1718) a green glass bottleneck shard of an early 18th century case flacon bottle still containing the cork.
The conservation of the Harriet Aiken painting and its frame has brought together the collective conservation skills of the WLCC, the Historic Charleston Foundation, and professional conservators Catherine Rodgers and Nancy Newton of Charleston, SC.