Robinson Terminal South Update: Ship Documentation (part 1)

Researchers from Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Lab (CRL) are beginning a project to digitally reconstruct and model the remnants of the three ships excavated on the Robinson Terminal Site, in coordination with a team of City archaeologists and volunteers.

Page archived as of March 16, 2020

Note: The information on this page reflects the state of knowledge when this update was written. Information may have changed. 

Ship Documentation (part 1)

September 2019

Documenting the timbers from RTS Ship #2, September 2019 In the spring of 2018, archaeologists finished excavating three historic ship remnants at the Robinson Terminal South Site. City archaeologists have stored the over 1000 timbers in water to prevent their further deterioration, and with the help of volunteers have spent nearly 500 person hours tending to the ongoing preservation needs of these artifacts. The next exciting phase of this project is about to begin with the start of an ambitious documentation project this week. 

Researchers from Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Lab (CRL) will digitally reconstruct and model the remnants of the three ships in coordination with a team of City archaeologists and volunteers. The team will work for approximately one week each month through Spring 2020 to document these significant finds. Ultimately, CRL will produce digital and physical models for future preservation and interpretation, like those made for the Hotel Indigo Site ship. 

During the first week of the ship documentation project (September 9-13), City staff, volunteers, and researchers from Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Lab (CRL) cleaned and organized nearly 200 timbers from Ship #2 (Feature 155) found at the Robinson Terminal South Site (44AX235). The team removed innumerable wooden and metal fasteners, cleaned iron concretions from timbers, and disarticulated any pieces that were still connected. This allowed us to better pack our tanks and will help us more efficiently and accurately 3D laser scan the timbers. On Monday, September 23, CRL researchers in coordination with a team of City archaeologists and volunteers began scanning these timbers using two coordinate measuring devices with laser line probe attachments. This is the first step in producing digital and physical models of the ships for future preservation an interpretation. 

Stay tuned for periodic updates on our progress! If you’re interested in helping please submit a volunteer application.

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