November 19, 1997

Maritime Museum's Art Cohn to Speak at Middlebury College on Sunken Artifacts in Lake Champlain

Arthur B. Cohn, director of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) in Panton, Vermont, will present a lecture on "Surveying Lake Champlain: New Discoveries, Great Potential, and Significant Challenges" on Thursday, Dec. 4, at 8 p.m. in the concert hall in the Middlebury College Center for the Arts on South Main Street (Rt. 30). The lecture is free and open to the public.

Cohn led a survey team in June which discovered-on the bottom of Lake Champlain-a Revolutionary War gunboat commanded by Benedict Arnold. Patricia L. Manley and Thomas O. Manley of the Middlebury geology department, and Middlebury students Billie-Jo Gauley '99 and Bret Thibault '97 were also part of the survey team. At the time of the discovery, researchers were using the College's side-scan sonar system, which detected the gunboat's presence.

When the finding was announced in July, Philip Lundeberg, curator emeritus of naval history at the Smithsonian Institution's American History Museum, commented to "The Boston Herald," "This could prove to be the most significant maritime archeological discovery in American history in the last half century."

Cohn said researchers recognize the urgent need to continue locating and identifying previously unknown submerged shipwrecks before they become encrusted with the zebra mussels that have invaded Lake Champlain.

A professional diver and nautical archeologist, Cohn is also on the adjunct faculty of the University of Vermont and the Institute of Nautical Archeology at Texas A&M University. He has served as coordinator of the State of Vermont's Underwater Historic Preserve Program since 1985.

The lecture will be sponsored by the Middlebury College geology department and Atwater Commons. Please contact Trish Dougherty of the geology department at 443-5970 for more information.