Shoreline Survey 1994

Volunteers assisted marine archeologists in conducting an underwater and shoreline survey of the upper Choptank River in July 1994.

The survey was a joint project of the Center, the Maryland Archeology Program (MAP), and the Caroline County Historical Society. Underwater archeologist Bruce Thompson of the MAP led the survey.

The survey team used a boat equipped with specialized equipment, including sonar and a magnetometer, to look for wrecks and other artifacts that might warrant preservation.  Divers removed a few items from each site for dating.

Several shoreline survey teams walked the shoreline in search of prehistoric sites, early settlement sites, and other sites of interest.

Search objectives included:

  • Shipwrecks, including the schooner Wave, which was used in the Seminole Wars (1832-1842) and in the Caribbean and South American trade before the Civil War.
  • Ruined wharves and docks, including Brockwayís Wharf in Greensboro, and Mellvilleís Warehouse and tobacco warehouse north of Denton.
  • Prehistoric and historic riverfront settlements.
  • Cannons once located on the Denton courthouse green and as counterbalances on the drawbridge.
  • Shipyards, including ship carpenter Thomas Ginnís 1768 construction site between Denton and Greensboro, and Richardsonís Shipyard (1866-1869) in West Denton.

The survey was headquartered at the OHTMC in West Denton.  A team of divers, archeologists, and local volunteers worked under the direction of underwater archeologist Bruce Thompson.  An artifacts processing lab was set up in the OHTMC steamboat warehouse.

In conjunction with the underwater survey, the Maryland State Highway Administrationís archeology team sponsored a demonstration dig at the Centerís former Joppa Steamboat Wharf and Warehouse site in West Denton to search for artifacts.

Many artifacts on loan from collectors, as well as those discovered during the survey, were displayed at the Choptank River Heritage Festival at the Center, in conjunction with SummerFest 94.


The survey crew arrive at the CRHC dock in West Denton, where the survey operation was headquartered.

Marine archeologist Steve Bilicki guides the survey teamís inflatable boat up the Tuckahoe River

Diver Mike Hamby lands a trophy - an intact iron pot.

Survey team member Rick Ervin holds fragments of a stoneware crock recovered during the survey.

© 1999-2005
Choptank River Heritage Center
10215 River Landing Road
Denton, Md.  21629
410.479.4950 --