From a Watery Grave: The Discovery and Excavation of La Salle's Shipwreck, La Belle (Hardcover)

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On a frigid, stormy day in February of 1686, a small French sailing ship lost control and ran aground in Matagorda Bay. The crew had braved an ocean voyage, attacks by pirates, raids by Native Americans, and ravaging diseases under the command of famed explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle, hoping to establish a colony in the New World. Pounded in the Texas bay by gale winds and storm surges, La Belle finally slipped beneath the water and sank to the bottom, where it would remain for centuries.

More than 300 years later, Texas Historical Commission archaeologists discovered La Belle’s resting place. Using cutting-edge technology and scientific innovation, investigators excavated the shipwreck and salvaged from its watery grave more than a million artifacts, including bronze guns, muskets, trade beads, axes, rings, bells, dishes, medicines—everything a new-world colony needed for survival.

Authors James E. Bruseth and Toni S. Turner use vivid photographs and engaging descriptions to share the excitement of discovery as they piece together both the ship and its tragic story. For those interested in history, archaeology, or the quest for clues to the past, From a Watery Grave tells a riveting tale of nautical adventure in the seventeenth century and reveals modern scientific archaeology at its best.

About the Author

James E. Bruseth is director of the archaeology division at the Texas Historical Commission, which sponsored the excavation of La Belle. Bruseth directed the excavation and serves as the project’s principal investigator.Toni S. Turner is a freelance writer and fund raiser who assisted in many aspects of the recovery of the shipwreck.

Praise For…

From a Watery Grave represents a solid and lasting triumph of nautical archaeology. James E. Bruseth and Toni S. Turner tell the amazing story of how a dedicated team of scientists and researchers rose to the challenge of preserving the fragile remains of La Salle’s 300-year-old ship La Belle–from the innovative planning and building of the coffer dam to enable excavation on “dry” land through the dismantling, transporting, and reassembly of the ship’s hull. Truly an astounding analysis of the rarest of finds–a ship laden with the items needed for founding a colony in seventeenth century America, from trade beads to buttons, carpenter tools to cannons–the report stands as a high-water mark to be striven for in all such efforts in the future.”--Robert S. Weddle, author of The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Salle

— Robert S. Weddle, author of The Wreck of the Belle, the Ruin of La Sal
Product Details
ISBN: 9781585443475
ISBN-10: 1585443476
Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
Publication Date: March 7th, 2005
Pages: 176
Language: English