'Clarence' shipwreck excavated for national research project29 May 2012
The Clarence (1850), a historically significant Australian colonial wooden trading vessel wrecked off the coast of St Leonards in Port Phillip, has been the site of a four week excavation for a national collaborative research project.
The Australian Historic Shipwreck Protection Project was awarded a large ARC (Australian Research Council) Linkage grant in May 2011. The linkage project brings together 10 partner organisations, including Heritage Victoria, as well as students and volunteers from around Australian. The aim of the project is to investigate methodologies for the excavation, reburial and in-situ preservation of wrecks and their associated artefacts, many of which are considered to be at risk.
The national collaborative research project will run for three to four years and is focused on the Clarence. The project brings together the disciplines of behavioural archaeology, maritime archaeology, conservation sciences and maritime objects conservation. The investigation work on the Clarence has been critical to the development of a new national policy and technical guidelines for the management of historic wrecks.
The four week excavation of the shipwreck was completed on 11th May 2012. A jack-up barge was used as a platform for the diving and conservation works (see picture), with the assistance of Heritage Victoria’s boat Trim. Approximately three quarters of the starboard half of the shipwreck was uncovered and a number of artefacts including barrels and rope were discovered. Following recording the artefacts and excavated area were reburied, the area will later be covered with cloth and tarpaulin to protect this unique shipwreck for centuries to come.Back to News