During the summer of 2007, detailed mapping and archaeological excavations were conducted at the Mardi Gras Shipwreck, the remains of an unidentified, wooden-hulled sailing vessel. Located in 4,000 feet of water 40 miles off the Louisiana coast, the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project was considered at that time to be the deepest archaeological excavation ever conducted. The shipwreck itself is an amazing site with an artifact assemblage dating to the first decades of the 19th century. In the latest thematic issue of Historical Archaeology, the story of this project from its genesis as a Federal regulatory enforcement action to the reinterpretation of the data is provided. SHA members can access these articles online here: https://sha.org/secure/historical-archaeology/

Introductory articles describe the site’s discovery, and the field methods, tools, and technology needed for excavation in deep water, and provide an overview of the Gulf of Mexico’s unique and fascinating history at the time the ship slipped beneath the waves. Subsequent articles describe the material culture identified at this site including ceramics and bottles, a ship’s stove, firearms and cannon, navigational equipment, and the techniques employed to conserve recovered artifacts. Other articles describe the public outreach and documentary film production that took place in support of the project. Finally, the concluding article examines additional artifacts and site formation processes, and provides a new interpretation of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck. The paper titles include:

Introduction: The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: The Story of an Early Nineteenth-Century Wooden-Hulled Sailing Ship

Christopher E. Horrell, Amy A. Borgens Pages 323–328

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: Overview of Methods and Tools

Jack B. Irion Pages 329–336

Mercantilism, Warfare, or Privateering? Providing the Historical Context for the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Site

Melanie Damour Pages 337–350

Land, Ho! Maritime Navigation through the Early Nineteenth Century as Represented by the Mardi Gras Shipwreck

Dave Ball Pages 351–358

Analysis of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Ship’s Stove

Christopher E. Horrell Pages 359–378

The Glass and Ceramic Assemblage of the Mardi Gras Shipwreck

Ben Ford Pages 379–391

Artillery and Arms from the Mardi Gras Shipwreck

Amy A. Borgens Pages 392–409

The Conservation Research Laboratory and Conservation of Artifacts from the Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project

Helen Dewolf Pages 410–417

Lights, Camera … Shipwreck!?! Multimedia at Four Thousand Feet

Kimberly L. Faulk, Rick Allen Pages 418–424

Deep Thoughts: A Look at Public Access to Deepwater Sites through the Mardi Gras Shipwreck

Della A. Scott-Ireton Pages 425–432

The Mardi Gras Shipwreck Project: A Final Overview with New Perspectives

Christopher E. Horrell, Amy A. Borgens Pages 433–450


Memorial: George Robert Fischer (1937–2016)

Russell K. Skowronek Pages 451–461