Sunken boats and the man who studied them are subject of free NYS Military Museum talk on Feb. 29
SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY (02/21/2020) (readMedia)-- The history of French and Indian War boats deliberately sunk in Lake George, and the man who first investigated them in the 1960s, will be the subject of a free talk at the New York State Military Museum in Saratoga Springs on Saturday, Feb. 29.
The talk, by marine archeologist Joseph W. Zarznyski, takes place at 2 p.m.
Zarznyski, a retired teacher living in Wilton and the former director of Bateaux Below, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that studied shipwrecks in Lake George, will talk about Robert Bruce Inverarity who first studied the sunken boats.
The talk is based on a chapter in Zarznyski's new book "Ghost Fleet Awakened--Lake George's Sunken Bateaux of 1758."
Inverarity, who was born in 1909 and died in 1999, studied indigenous coastal tribes of the Pacific Northwest before becoming an illustrator and naval camouflage specialist for the U.S. Navy during World War II. He later was director of the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico and then director of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, New York, from 1954 to 1965.
While at the Adirondack Museum Inverarity spearheaded "Operation Bateaux" (1960-1965) at Lake George, one of the first professionally conducted underwater archaeological studies of shipwrecks in America. The project that studied British sunken vessels called bateaux from the French & Indian War.
These colonial shipwrecks in, first found in 1960, were dubbed the "Ghost Fleet. Inverarity became the first maritime archaeologist to employ closed circuit television to help direct U.S. Navy and civilian divers in the recovery of a colonial bateau shipwreck at Lake George.
Over 260 boats, known by the French term bateau (bateaux is the plural), were sunk on purpose by the British Army in the fall of 1758. With winter coming and the lake freezing, the British wanted to store the boats for use in the spring of 1759. But storing them on the shore meant that they could be damaged by the weather and French raiders on snowshoes could burn them.
So the boats were purposely sunk to the bottom of the lake. In 1759 most of the purposely sunken boats were raised, but some were not. These were the boats found in 1960.
Copies of Zarznyski's new book, which outlines all of this history and the use of the boats during the period, will be available for purchase.
The New York State Military Museum is located at 61 Lake Avenue in Saratoga Springs. The talk is one of a series that are taking place on weekends in February and March.
Page Last Modified: Feb 24, 2020