Shipwreck Found Underneath Vienna Bridge Being Preserved, Brough - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Shipwreck Found Underneath Vienna Bridge Being Preserved, Brought Home To Vienna

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Pieces of the Nanticoke Shipwreck Undergoing Preservation (Photo:Tom Bradshaw) Pieces of the Nanticoke Shipwreck Undergoing Preservation (Photo:Tom Bradshaw)

VIENNA, Md.- Eighteen months ago, a barge was traveling beneath the Vienna bridge and hit one of the pilings.  While work was being done to repair the piling, divers discovered a shipwreck.  Eighteen months later it looks like part of that shipwreck could soon be coming home to Vienna.

Last august as the wreckage of the ship was removed from beneath the Vienna Bridge, local historian Tom Bradshaw knew it was a day to remember.

"My grandfather was a boat builder and he was a commercial fisherman on the river along with his brothers for a number of years.  Granddaddy always talked about shipwrecks in the river, and low and behold,  they find one and bring it up," said Bradshaw.

The ship was taken across the bay to the Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab.  But where and when did it first come from?  That question has now been answered.

"Through modern technology, dendochronology, they have taken the DNA from the wood of the ship and found that the timber it came from was harvested in 1743 between Annapolis and the Potomac River," said Bradshaw.

How the ship wound up at the bottom is still a mystery.  Several pieces are undergoing preservation and will eventually be returned to Vienna for display, which is fine by those who live there.

"There is a story to be told there and I think a lot of people would be interested in hearing it.  I think it would be a great boon for the town of Vienna and certainly for the Eastern Shore in terms of cultural history," said Beth Wasden with the Nanticoke Watershed Alliance.

"I love history, and it amazes me how much history we have here in our backyard that people don't know about," said Bradshaw.

While parts of the ship are being preserved, other parts of the ship are going to be kept on a pond on the property to more or less keep them in stasis until more money is raised to preserve the entire ship, at which point they will be brought up and go through that same two year preservation process and possibly come to Vienna or wind up in another museum. 

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