Archaeology Collapsed riverbank exposes host of sunken vessels

Discussion in 'Archaeology' started by mscbkc070904, Mar 21, 2005.

  1. mscbkc070904

    mscbkc070904 Premium Member

    A section of the Mississippi riverbank near Audubon Park collapsed about a year and a half ago, with astonishing results.

    No, muddy water did not inundate Uptown New Orleans. Riverbank repairs are a routine task that the Army Corps of Engineers performs adeptly. What made this job special was the historical treasure trove it turned up: 19 sunken ships, including the remains of a Civil War ironclad that played a major role in the 1864 battle of Mobile Bay.

    Research conducted for the corps provides a rich and unusual view of the ties between a sliver of Uptown - the area just upriver from the Audubon Park Butterfly - and the economic and cultural heritage of the city and the nation. This was the place where renowned African-American singer Mahalia Jackson grew up; where ferries transported horse-drawn carriages, automobiles, and railroad cars and engines across the Mississippi; and where many of the work ships servicing the Port of New Orleans, the river and ocean-going shipping were based.

    The sunken ships, scattered along about a mile of sloping underwater riverbank that's 30 to 150 feet deep, are mostly the derelict remains of vessels used by various Bisso family businesses that have operated in the area since at least 1853. And it was Bisso workers who first spotted the collapsing riverbank about 18 months ago.

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