Maritime Archaeologist Speaks on Yorktown Ships at May 23 Archeological Society Meeting

The story of the discovery of Revolutionary-era Yorktown shipwrecks will be presented by maritime archaeologist John Broadwater on Wednesday, May 23, at the Historic Triangle Chapter of the Archeological Society of Virginia (ASV) meeting. Broadwater directed the investigation of the sunken British ships associated with the 1781 Siege of Yorktown while serving as Virginia's first State Underwater Archaeologist from 1978-1990. The local ASV chapter meeting begins at 7 pm and will be held in the Schell Room of the Williamsburg Regional Library on Scotland Street.

In his talk, Yorktown Shipwrecks: A New Look at Some Old Friends, Broadwater will talk about the discovery of nine shipwrecks and the complete excavation of one of the best preserved of the wrecks, later proven to be the collier brig Betsy. In April of this year, a new phase of investigations began with remote sensing surveys conducted by JRS Explorations, Inc.

John D. Broadwater is president of Spritsail Enterprises, a maritime archaeology consulting firm, and vice president of JRS Explorations, Inc., a company dedicated to investigating and sharing information about archaeological sites and cultural material with the public. Previously, from 1992-2010, he was employed by the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). During 1992-2005 he served as Manager of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary, directing expeditions to the remains of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, located 16 miles off Cape Hatteras. Expeditions resulted in the recovery of components including Monitor's 100-ton gun turret, now in the USS Monitor Center, at The Mariners' Museum in Newport News. Later at NOAA, he developed NOAA's Maritime Heritage Program and served as Chief Archaeologist.

Broadwater has participated in national and international underwater archaeological expeditions, including expeditions in the Black Sea and North Atlantic. In 2001, he descended in the Mir 2 submersible to the wreck of the RMS Titanic. He has served on advisory boards, is a Registered Professional Archaeologist, and is a Fellow in The Explorers Club. He has published a variety of technical and popular articles and contributed to numerous archaeological books and encyclopedias.

Area archaeology professionals and enthusiasts are invited to join the Historic Triangle Chapter of the Archeology Society of Virginia, one of ASV's network of chapters throughout the state. No previous experience in archaeology is required to be a member, only a strong interest in learning about and doing archaeology. Avocational members will have the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of archeology; participate in archaeological excavation, historical research, and laboratory analysis of artifacts; and apply to ASV's Certification and Training Program for Archaeological Technicians. ASV sponsors local chapters to promote the study of prehistoric and historic Virginia archaeology and anthropology and to provide critical community-based involvement in the work of appropriate exploration, thereby preventing the mishandling of irreplaceable cultural resources.

The new Historic Triangle Chapter of ASV will serve the greater Williamsburg, Jamestown, and Yorktown area. For more information, contact Forrest Morgan, ASV Vice-President and sponsor of the newly organizing chapter, at (804) 725-3121 or

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