2017 BIMI Lecture Series – Exploring Rhode Island’s Largest “Ship Graveyard” and Its Block Island Connection

DaveRobinson-headshotDavid S. Robinson, Marine Archaeologist, University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography

 David Robinson will discuss the results of his recently completed RI Sea Grant-funded study on Rhode Island’s largest “Ship Graveyard.” This collection of 29 wooden shipwrecks includes the remains of Mount Hope, Rhode Island’s most famous steamboat and the precursor to the Block Island ferries of today. These shipwrecks, along with the remains of Narragansett Bay’s first floating dry dock and related archaeological deposits on shore associated with the Providence Dry Dock & Marine Railway Company together comprise a unique maritime cultural landscape in which is preserved the final chapters of Providence and East Providence’s wooden sailing ship-building era, the city’s development as an industrial port, and Narragansett Bay’s preeminent role as Rhode Island’s playground during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. David will discuss the challenges of studying, managing, and protecting these unique resources, their potential value to local tourism and education, and their importance as a habitat for pioneer wildlife species that have begun returning to the harbor in recent years as water quality has improved.