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2008 Papahanaumokuakea Maritime Heritage Expedition
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Maritime Archaeology in the Monument 

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On July 31, a team of six maritime archaeologists will depart Pearl Harbor in Honolulu, Hawaii, for a 30-day expedition to Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The multidisciplinary expedition, which has a maritime archaeology focus, will set sail aboard the NOAA ship Hi'ialakai with approximately 20 scientists from various fields. In addition to the archaeology team, the scientific party will include shark researchers, coral genetics researchers, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners and a wilderness documentary filmmaker.

A Trotman style anchor rests on the seafloor at the Dunnottar Castle shipwreck site at Kure Atoll
A Trotman style anchor rests on the seafloor at the Dunnottar Castle shipwreck site at Kure Atoll.(Photo: Office of National Marine Sanctuaries)
This year, the maritime archaeology team will begin its work at French Frigate Shoals, where researchers will work to create a detailed map of what is believed to be the wreck of the turn-of-the-century wooden schooner Churchill. Other highlights of the cruise include wreck site mapping at Pearl and Hermes Atoll, artifact retrieval from Kure Atoll for conservation and display in a visitor center, and filming of a maritime heritage documentary video at Midway Atoll.

The main objectives of the expedition are to interpret these diverse archaeological sites through underwater mapping, video and photography, and to share their stories with the public in a variety of ways. These kinds of resources tell fascinating stories about hundreds of years of seafaring throughout these atolls. The development of a film, site plans and a museum exhibit will help the public touch and see the history of this very remote and special place.

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Background on Ships

     USS Saginaw

Schooner Churhill
Schooner Churchill

Dunnottar Castle
Dunnottar Castle


Pearl and Hermes
Pearl and Hermes


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