The Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission was seeking to develop a public archaeology program for interpreting the County’s Maritime Archaeological Resources. 

The objectives of E2PM’s study was to conduct an initial review of available literature and cartographic resources with the purpose of identifying potential targets which may be utilized as possible excavation sites for the County’s proposed Public Maritime Archaeology program. 

In order to facilitate this project, E2PM developed a research design focused around two primary tasks: background research and a cartographic review. Ancillary tasks associated with the project included project management and report production.

During E2PM’s involvement, the Cultural Resource experts performed the following tasks : 

  • Attended start-up meeting with the Commission’s staff to discuss project logistics, schedule, and any other issues relevant to the successful execution of this scope of work.
  • Reviewed appropriate archaeological reports curated by the New Jersey Historic Preservation Office and US Army Corps of Engineers Department of War reports regarding maritime resources within Middlesex County along the Arthur Kill, Raritan River, and Raritan Bay.
  • Desktop review of all potential resources visible through aerial imagery and drone survey documentation of a cluster of partially submerged wrecks along the shores of the Raritan River.
  • Requested GIS data from the NJHPO regarding the Hurricane Sandy Coastal Cleanup Operations which identified numerous potential shipwreck targets in the Arthur Kill, Raritan River, and Raritan Bay.
  • Compiled a chart of potential targets for use as part of the proposed Public Maritime Archaeology program. 
  • Prepared a final “Archaeological Literature Search” report detailing the results of findings, methods employed, and recommendations for ground-truthing the targets identified during the literature search.  E2PM paid particular attention to three specific criteria during the course of this study: ease of public access, historic significance, and pre-20th century origins.

At project completion, E2PM identified a total of 134 possible targets which may be investigated as part of this program. In addition, E2PM provided additional tasks which will be necessary to develop an effective public archaeology program.