Searchers to look for War of 1812 ships

May 12, 2011 at 9:31 PM

INDIANA, Pa., May 12 (UPI) -- Researchers at Indiana University of Pennsylvania have announced plans to find and identify two shipwrecks from the War of 1812 in Lake Ontario.

Geoscientist Katie Farnsworth and anthropologist Ben Ford are preparing for a June survey of the Black River Bay in the northeast corner of Lake Ontario for a frigate called the Mohawk, a product of a naval arms race between the Americans and the British, and an unnamed gunboat designed for amphibious attacks and harassing British shipping, a university release said Thursday.

Ford said he has data suggesting the gunboat's location and reason to believe the Mohawk is within a few miles of it.

The Great Lakes were a crucial battle arena for the United States and Great Britain during the War of 1812, with each side racing to try to build a superior fleet of military vessels.

The shipwrecks will be buried, or at least partly buried, in sediment entering the lake from the surrounding watershed for two centuries, Farnsworth said.

The search will utilize side-scanning sonar, sub-bottom chirp profiling, magnetometry and archaeological diver inspections, the university release said.

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