Filling the Gap: A 19th Century Shipwreck in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan

Dublin Core

Title

Filling the Gap: A 19th Century Shipwreck in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan

Subject

Session 8
Pacific Islands region: Building UCH Capacity

Description

Over the past 4000 years several cultural groups have utilized the island of Saipan in the archipelago now known as the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) for a variety of purposes including settlement, trade, provisioning and as a strategic position for wartime activities. Maritime heritage sites ranging from ancient coastal settlements to those of wrecked ships, planes and other World War II era sites have been identified on the island and in the surrounding waters. Over the past five years the CNMI Historic Preservation Office has endeavored to better understand and protect the submerged heritage of the island through remote sensing surveys, site inventories and site inspections.

Recently the remains of a previously undocumented site were located along the island’s fringing reef in Tanapag Lagoon. A multi-agency investigation of this site determined it to be the partial remains of a mid- to late-nineteenth century sailing vessel. This investigation represents the first archaeological study of an early colonial shipwreck in the CNMI and helps to fill a gap in the archaeological record of pre-World War II period maritime sites.

This paper examines the historic maritime activities in the CNMI during the mid-nineteenth to early-twentieth century and discusses the significance of this site to them. Though data pertaining to Saipan during this period is sparse, historical documents suggest that five wooden sailing vessels are known to have wrecked there during that time. The historical and archaeological analysis of these remains contributes to a broader understanding of colonial interaction and trade in the CNMI and the Pacific region in the nineteenth century.

Creator

Sarah Nahabedian
Jason T. Raupp
John D. San Nicolas

Date

November 2011

Files

Citation

Sarah Nahabedian, Jason T. Raupp, and John D. San Nicolas, “Filling the Gap: A 19th Century Shipwreck in Tanapag Lagoon, Saipan ,” The MUA Collection, accessed December 13, 2017, http://www.themua.org/collections/items/show/1209.

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