events

Virtual Lecture: “A City Built on Ships: Reconstructing 18th-Century Ships Excavated from the Alexandria Waterfront” with Dr. Chris Dostal

“A City Built on Ships: Reconstructing 18th-Century Ships Excavated from the Alexandria Waterfront” with Dr. Chris Dostal  

Wednesday, October 26 
7 – 8 p.m. 
Free virtual lecture; Registration is required here.

Between 2015-2018, construction crews excavating along the Alexandria waterfront revealed the broken remains of four 18th-century wooden ships in what was once the shoreline of the Potomac River. To study them, each ship was disarticulated and the individual timbers were laser scanned, allowing researchers to virtually reassemble the ships and develop theoretical reconstructions of how they would have looked when they were in use. These highly accurate digital timber models were 3D printed and assembled by a master ship model maker, further informing these reconstructions. The four ships are now on two different preservation journeys. The Hotel Indigo ship was sent to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University for conservation by freeze drying, and the three Robinson Landing ships were submerged in a pond at Ben Brenman Park this spring. Hear the latest findings and discover what was learned through digitally reconstructing the four ships.  

Christopher Dostal is an Assistant Professor with the Department of Anthropology’s Nautical Archaeology Program at Texas A&M University, where he is also the Director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation, the Conservation Research Laboratory, and the Director of the Analytical Archaeology Laboratory in charge of scanning the four 18th century ships excavated in Alexandria. He holds his degrees from Texas A&M University (Ph.D.), and the University of Colorado at Boulder. His research and work includes historical maritime archaeology of North America and Western Europe, the conservation and long-term preservation of waterlogged archaeological artifacts, preservation and documentation techniques for underwater archaeological sites, X-ray fluorescence elemental analysis of archaeological artifacts, and digital imaging and 3D modeling of archaeological artifacts.