The Tile Wreck Maritime Archaeological Project

Monte Cristi, Dominican Republic, Caribbean
Photographs From The August 2007 Field Season

During July and August ADMAT ran maritime archaeological field schools on The Tile Wreck in Monte Cristi. ADMAT has been working on this wreck since December 2005.

The wreck is called The Tile Wreck, due to the cargo which was found in the lower hull. Thousands of terracotta square floor tiles were found, together with shaped and pre cut granite blocks. It's likely this cargo was intended to build something significant as the sheer cost of shipping building materials from Europe to the New World was very costly.

In late 1999 the site was attacked by looters, who removed seven iron cannons from the site and it was decided that an interim survey was required, to ascertain the nationality and nature of the surviving sections of the shipwreck. This was undertaken in 2000, and followed up in 2006 with a further survey and partial excavation.

During 2006, many faience pottery sherds were found, indicating a possible French cargo. The lower hull construction remains and provides an excellent insight into the ship construction of the late 1690s to early 1700s. The keelson, mast step, floors and ceiling are mostly intact for the central section.

The objective of this field school was twofold. To analysis the granite blocks which were part of the cargo and to see if one edge of the wreck could be found. During the two months a number of granite blocks were raised after being documented in situ. In addition we found a wooden barrel which was buried as well and an iron breach loading swivel cannon which was found 1.26 metres below the bottom planking.

A cap square, and a worm were found, probably from one of the cannons which was looted in 1999, together with cannon lashing hooks and truck pins. Molten lead, French faienceware with beautiful designs, together with clay pipes and animal bones were also found. The students were taught ADMAT's Underwater Survey Diver course, Proton Magnetometer Diver course as well as artefact handling and recording.