The denbigh project: Test excavations at the wreck of an american civil war blockade-runner

J. Barto Arnold, Thomas J. Oertling, Andrew W. Hall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The wreck of the Denbigh, one of the most successful and famous blockade-runners of the American Civil War (1861-5), was located and recorded near Galveston in Texas in 1997. The vessel was built in 1860 as a coastal paddle steamer by Laird, Sons & Co.of Birkenhead (Merseyside, England), and incorporated all the latest features of design and technology. After three years as a passenger steamer on the Irish Sea the Denbigh sailed for Cuba, where she worked as a blockade-runner taking material to and from the Confederate South from early 1864 until her grounding and destruction by Union forces on 23-4 May 1865. This paper provides updated findings on the ship's history and covers the 1999 test excavation phase of an underwater archaeology project to investigate the wreck. As a case-study in historical archaeology the Denbigh Project seeks to integrate documentary, pictorial and material evidence in a way which provides a model for future investigations of shipwrecks of the recent historic past.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)400-412
Number of pages13
JournalWorld Archaeology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001


  • American Civil War
  • Blockade-Runner
  • Denbigh Shipwreck
  • Galveston
  • Paddle Steamer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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