Tidewater Time Capsule:
History Beneath the Patuxent
Only a decade ago few people understood the value of the submerged cultural resources beneath the waters of the Chesapeake region. Underwater archaeology was considered adventurous foolishness rather than scientific inquiry. It was the treasure hunters and relic collectors who garnered headlines when they tore historical hulls from the bottom for profit. Recently, the search for the region's underwater heritage, both historic and pre-historic, and particularly its maritime history, has been validated, initiating an intensified attempt to study and preserve the priceless resources hidden in the waters of the Bay and its tributaries.
TIDEWATER TIME CAPSULE presents a fascinating account of one underwater archaeological endeavour in which Donald Shomette was intimately involved: the underwater survey of the Patuxent River, and, in particular, the search for Joshua Barney's Chesapeake Flotilla which was lost beneath the river's waters following a battle with the British during the War of 1812. the author skilfully sets the historical scene, then proceeds to a a first-person on-the-site narrative of investigative events as they happened.
The Patuxent River was the first underwater archaeological survey of an entire river system, in which archaeologist sought such diverse resources as inundated aboriginal and historic sites, harbour facilities, military establishments, battle sites, shipwrecks and, in particular, the final resting place of Joshua Barney's famed Chesapeake Flotilla from the War of 1812.