FRIDAY, AUGUST 26: Dear Sir,

An article appeared in your paper last Wednesday by John Bordsen [an MCT wire story] referring to the latest excavation of the wreck of the Warwick 1619.

Your readers might be interested in the history of the discovery of the wreck and the work done prior to this latest excavation.

The Warwick was in fact discovered in 1967 by Bermudian diver Mr Teddy Tucker working with Professor Mendel Peterson — the Head Curator of Armed Forces History at the Smithsonian Institution. Mr Peterson was one of the early pioneers of underwater archaeology and their work was carried out as part of a research programme on underwater history at the Smithsonian aiming to locate and conduct research on early shipwrecks.

The Warwick was discovered through the use of a “flux gate magnetometer” an experimental type of metal detector towed behind a vessel that was first tested in Bermuda as part of a planned search of Castle Harbour looking for the Warwick among other early ships. When metals were detected a limited dig was conducted to verify the signal and several shipwrecks were located in this way.

The Smithsonian and later the Philadelphia Maritime Museum with Mr Tucker under licence from the Receiver of Wrecks, the Collector of Customs, put together specialized professional teams and conducted systematic excavations over several summers, uncovering the remaining timbers, recovering artifacts and identifying and documenting the ships particular construction.

This led to the attribution of the wreck as “the Warwick” 1619 and the recovery and preservation of some very significant artifacts counting some very early and unique navigational tools including a compass rose carved into a piece of slate. These artifacts were written about in several publications and are now beautifully displayed at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

This underwater work and the artifacts found gave specific insights into the activities of the short-lived Virginia Company at that time.

A few of the detailed drawings of the ship and artifacts were featured last year in RG Magazine’s heritage issue and more are anticipated to be released in upcoming publications.

The Warwick remains a site that is “Restricted” under the Historic Wrecks Act 2001 and is therefore not open to diving without a license. Please visit our website for more information on enjoying Bermuda’s rich shipwreck heritage.

Thank you for letting me add some context to the continuing investigation of this historic shipwreck.

Dr Philippe Rouja

Custodian Of Historic Wrecks, Dept of Conservation Services