Maritime Trails

Shipwreck Conservation for Kids

Above are two dugout canoes conserved by the Society. The large canoe to the right is approximately 150 years old. The small fragment to the left is from a dugout canoe that is over 1,800 years old!

Above are two dugout canoes conserved by the Society. The large canoe to the right is approximately 150 years old. The small fragment to the left is from a dugout canoe that is over 1,800 years old!

Archaeologists do not remove artifacts from shipwrecks for souvenirs. However, they may want to remove a few special artifacts for study or to place in a museum. Because these artifacts have been wet for many years, they must first be conserved. Conservation is expensive and takes a lot of time. That is why archaeologists remove only what they need for research.

Although conserving artifacts is one way to share them with the public, underwater archaeologists usually leave artifacts in place as "underwater museums." Shipwreck divers are told to "take only pictures and leave only bubbles." In fact, laws protect underwater shipwreck sites. Of course, archaeologists also take information. Then they write reports or books, or create Web sites to share their research with others. 

Mooring Buoy Wisconsin Historical Society Sea Grant University of Wisconsin Wisconsin Coastal Management Program NOAA GLIN Great Lakes Information Network