ADMAT Returns from Le Dragon 2019 Summer Survey

Some of the 2019   Le Dragon   Maritime Archaeological Survey Team, at ADMAT’s Centre in Monte Cristi. From Left to Right: Connor Grzesiak, PhD student Florence Prudhomme, Steve Frehn, Bob Yee, Sandy, Lt Venture ONPCS, Project Leader Raimund Krob, Dr. Simon Spooner Project Director, Stephen Able and Jessica Piner.

Some of the 2019 Le Dragon Maritime Archaeological Survey Team, at ADMAT’s Centre in Monte Cristi. From Left to Right: Connor Grzesiak, PhD student Florence Prudhomme, Steve Frehn, Bob Yee, Sandy, Lt Venture ONPCS, Project Leader Raimund Krob, Dr. Simon Spooner Project Director, Stephen Able and Jessica Piner.

The international Team,  has returned from an exciting month long successful survey of Le Dragon wreck site. Le Dragon, the last French warship lost in the American Revolutionary War in 1783, was formally the English Liverpool Privateer Dragon and before that the Washington one of the first American warships of the American Continental Navy when she was built in 1776. She was beached on the north coast of the Dominican Republic, after an epic battle to save the King of France's spy and secret orders and then scuttled by her Captain by blowing up the rear section of the ship.

This year we had another dynamic Team with Team members represented, UK, USA, Dominican Republic, France, Australia and Canada. The work was undertaken for the Dominican Government, Oficina Nacional de Patrimonio Cultural Subacuático (ONPCS) department of the Ministry of Culture.

Some of   Le Dragon   Survey Team from left to right: Connor Grzesiak, Bob Yee, Jessica Piner, Stephen Able, Director Francis Soto ONPCS and Project Leader Raimund Krob.

Some of Le Dragon Survey Team from left to right: Connor Grzesiak, Bob Yee, Jessica Piner, Stephen Able, Director Francis Soto ONPCS and Project Leader Raimund Krob.

During the three week survey a number of interesting things were located on the ever expanding wreck site. From copper alloy buckles, spat button, cannonballs and barshot, to hull planking and iron ballast bars. The team concentrated its survey to continuing the 2018 survey grid as well as surveying further out to sea from the wreck in the channel between the wo reefs. About 53 m from the amidships break in the hull, a 4 m section of the keel and keelson was located. At present we believe this to be the add on section when the ship was lengthened. The iron keel bolts were still connecting the keel with the keelson and part of the floors were there as well. This was located with the DX200 Gradiometer from Aquascan International Ltd. Close by were two sections of broken gudgeons  which did not match meaning that there are more still to find.

Project Leader Raimund Krob and Stephen Abell documenting the keelson which has connected to it via iron keel bolts, the remains of two floors and part of the keel, all of which is on its side. We believe this section was the addition at the stern of Le Dragon which was added by the American shipwrights in Boston when they extended the ship in May 1782.

On of the interesting finds located 83m from the amidships point was a large cannonball which we are calling a “warshot” in that the size of the cannonball (18-24 pd cannot confirm until concretion removed) indicates that it was too large for the cannons on Le Dragon and therefore must have been fired at her by the English!

The team also located one pair of gudgeons which had broken and another two section which were not a pair, so there are more remaining on site.

Some of the   Le Dragon   Team with a gudgeon which had broken into two seperate pieces. From Left to Right:, Connor Grzesiak, Dr Simon Spooner, Florence Prudhomme, Louis Desvernay, Rami, Lt Venture, Sandy and Steven Frehn.

Some of the Le Dragon Team with a gudgeon which had broken into two seperate pieces. From Left to Right:, Connor Grzesiak, Dr Simon Spooner, Florence Prudhomme, Louis Desvernay, Rami, Lt Venture, Sandy and Steven Frehn.