Date of Award

Winter 1987

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Charles E Clark


During a pre-construction archaeological investigation at 175 Water Street, Manhattan, New York in 1982, excavators discovered an eighteenth-century merchant ship. The port side of the ship was excavated and recorded and the bow was taken apart and saved. Since that time historical and archaeological studies have been conducted to interpret the site to glean information about eighteenth-century technology and economics. The remains of this ship are particularly important because no draft or other remains of early eighteenth-century transatlantic merchantmen have been discovered.

The ship appears to be a Virginia-built ship which sailed between the Chesapeake and England or Scotland carrying tobacco to the British Isles and various European goods to America. The exact identity of the ship has not been determined. Details of the ship suggest that she was designed with a seventeenth-century geometric technique to have a good cargo-to-crew ratio and was built soundly but without great expense. Why the ship eventually ended its sailing career in New York is not clear, but an inspection of data from the site allows a reconstruction of the methods used to create the city block over the East River.