1813 camp of Neva shipwreck found near Sitka

Date Posted: September 16, 2015       Categories: Uncategorized

After more than 200 years of searching, archaeologists have identified the wreck site of the Russian-American Company frigate Neva. Made famous as one of two Russian vessels to circumnavigate the globe (1803-1807) and a participant in the Battle of Sitka, the Neva wrecked off of Kruzof Island more than three months after departing the Siberian port of Okhotsk for Sitka. Of the 75 souls on board, 26 survived to be rescued after spending almost a month at the makeshift camp discovered by archaeologist Dave McMahan and crew this summer. With the help of local Tlingit oral history, the National Science Foundation-funded researchers located the camp and partially excavated the site, recovering artifacts that reflected the cannibalization of the ship’s wreckage and improvised modification of the available materials. McMahan, a retired Alaska State archaeologist and member of both the Sitka Historical Society and the Alaska Anthropological Association, has commented that “the items left behind by survivors provide a unique snapshot-in-time for January 1813, and might help us to understand the adaptations that allowed them to await rescue in a frigid, unfamiliar environment.

For more information (and photos!), check out the NSF Press Release or the Western Digs article