The first pirate's cannon recovered in the Caribbean is resting in a Hoosier underwater science lab at Indiana University Bloomington under the watchful eye of archaeologist Charles Beeker and other researchers and students.
The Children's Museum of Indianapolis
, the world's largest children's museum, announces its partnership with IU
to provide funding for the transport of the 17th century relic.
Beeker, director of the Office of Underwater Science in IU Bloomington's School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, has been authorized by Dominican Republic authorities to bring the cannon to his lab for five years of study and conservation.
"This is a great opportunity for Indiana University faculty and students to obtain hands-on experience during the conservation of this unique artifact that has created such international interest," said Beeker
, who traveled to the Dominican Republic recently to oversee the shipping.
The 1,500 pound cannon, which was being stored in the Dominican Republic in a water bath, had to be boxed and kept wet to protect it from further deterioration, and then shipped by air cargo to Miami and expressed trucked directly to IU, where Dean Robert Goodman, School of HPER, arranged for a crew to help Beeker safely move the cannon into the Underwater Science Conservation Lab.
"It is not every day we receive such a significant historic shipment as one of the Great Guns of Captain Kidd, but when working with Beeker
, his cross-campus colleagues and our newest partner, The Children's Museum
, you are prepared for the unusual," Goodman said.
, who has been conducting research in the Dominican Republic for nearly 20 years, was asked to examine the shipwreck in 2007 while on another research mission involving the search for Christopher
Columbus' lost ships.
Beeker and IU archaeologist Geoffrey Conrad have been exploring the era when the New and Old Worlds first met, focusing on the area of La Isabela Bay, the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement established by Columbus in 1494.
colleagues lifted one cannon from the shipwreck site last summer and in the process discovered wood from a ship's frame beneath the sand upon which the cannons rested.
To learn more about the discoveries, visit http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/9265.html.
and his team confirmed rare rabbet seams in the teak wood hull of the ship, matching the 1701 testimony of Captain Kidd during his trial, days prior to his being hanged.
"This type of 17th century ship construction is unique to west India, and no European ships are built in this manner, which proves this is Captain Kidd's shipwreck, the Cara Merchant," Beeker
Now that they have been removed, Beeker
will look for diagnostic markings, determine caliper and fully document the cannon in an effort to provide clues to its origin.