Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000 Page: 26
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A collection of artifacts recovered from
the Belle. Photograph from the CRL.
and weather-worn at the time and had a
rather unkempt beard and hair. However
these things were left off of the model in
order to show more clearly the features of
the face. This facial reconstruction shows
the individual as he may have looked on
leaving France in 1684.
In the near future, DNA testing will be
completed on samples of the bone and
brain. The individual's DNA profile will
be compared against the gene profile of
Western Europeans, and it may provide researchers
with a means to associate this
person with modern relatives. One area of
interest to be investigated is the possible
identification of this individual as "C.
Barange," an inscription that was found engraved
on a pewter bowl located next to
the skeleton. Is the individual found on the
Belle a "Barange," and is he related to the
Barange families living in the same port
city from which the Belle set sail some 312
years ago? These are just some of the questions
that are presently being investigated.
INTACT WOOD CONTAINERS
Numerous intact wood containers, such
as kegs, barrels, boxes, and chests were also
found on the Belle. Many, including the
small kegs that contained masses of lead
shot, or the boxes containing nearly a million
glass trade beads, presented few conservation
Others, however, have created new and
S ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ III.~~ .r .lr . -.
Did you ever
dream of being an archeologist
or think of
participating in an
Now, through the GL/
wonders of high tech,
you can do the next
best thing -- and not
even get your hands
dirty! Even for those
who detest technology, the time spent
browsing this web site (the URL is above)
will be well spent.
The web site of the Nautical Archaeology
Program at Texas A&M University
has a section specifically devoted
to the conservation of the Belle. A web
camera has been set up at the ship's conservation
vat so that viewers can chart
the ongoing work at the
project. Because most of
that work is done during
71 _~normal hours, the web
camera is operational only
between 8 a.m. and 5
In addition to the web
camera, the site includes
photographs of the conserved
artifacts and sections
on the construction of both the vat
and the lifting frame. Another area focuses
on the reassembly of the boat's hull.
This Internet site, with its live web
camera, is an excellent example of how
high technology and information can
open doors to unknown worlds for each
of us and help share our state's past with
others around the world.
interesting challenges, and those include
boxes of rifles and swords, barrels that contained
more than a hundred iron axes, and
trade chests that encased an array of different
objects. These containers exemplify
more than any other cultural material
found in the ship, that the conservation
process is a continuation of the field excavations.
The same degree of slow deliberate
work, with thorough documentation
through notes and photography, is required.
Containers are sometimes encountered
when least expected. For example, while
extracting a large clump of small iron cannonballs,
it was discovered that they were
enclosed in a small wicker basket. Conservation
detailing the surfaces of the basket
was initiated immediately. After the wicker
was treated with silicone oil, the cannonballs
were removed and conserved.
At each stage of the excavation and
conservation of the Belle, imaginative and
groundbreaking approaches have been
taken. Only a few of the thousands of artifacts
conserved at CRL have been mentioned
in this article. But plans are already
being made for the eventual display of the
reassembled and conserved ship and its associated
material so that the public can
participate in this amazing project.
Donny L. Hamilton is head of the Nautical
Archaeology Program at Texas A&M.
HERITAGE * 26 * FALL 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 4, Fall 2000, periodical, Autumn 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45391/m1/26/: accessed February 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.