Friday, November 19, 2010

Klondike shipwreck brought to life with 3D scans

From CBC

Gold Rush-era shipwreck at the bottom of a Yukon lake is coming to life with the help of cutting-edge digital 3D scan images.

The images were produced in June by researchers working on the wreck of the A.J. Goddard, a 19th-century sternwheeler that vanished in Lake Laberge in 1901.

Researchers from the Institute of Nautical Archaeology captured images of the sternwheeler with underwater sonar scanners supplied by the U.S. firms BlueView Technologies and Oceangate.

Millions of captured images were then assembled into a 3D model, similar to a recent map of the wreck of the Titanic off the east coast of Newfoundland.

Last year, an archeological team that included the Texas-based institute and the Yukon Transportation Museum announced that it had discovered the shipwreck, mostly intact, at the bottom of Lake Laberge.

Shipped north in pieces

"To get that vessel to the North, it's an amazing story," Lindsey Thomas, a post-graduate student from Texas who is studying the A.J. Goddard, told CBC News.

Thomas said the sternwheeler was built in Seattle, then shipped in pieces over the Chilkoot Pass in the spring of 1898 to Bennett Lake, where it was reassembled.

Thomas said the new digital scans show how exactly the sternwheeler parts were put together at Bennett Lake.

"The people who built the vessel on the shores of Lake Bennett, where they [could] cut corners, they did," she said.

"It's kind of like the way that we build furniture from Ikea: follow the directions for the most part but where you need to, it's not done exactly the same way they might have done it in the factory."

The A.J. Goddard became the first sternwheeler in Dawson City, transporting miners and supplies along the Yukon River until Oct. 22, 1901, when it disappeared in Lake Laberge during a storm. Three of the A.J. Goddard's crew members drowned in the storm, while two survived.

Phonograph, records found

Divers retrieved artifacts from the shipwreck this past summer, including a phonograph player and some perfectly intact records.

"It's just a really unusual item to think of with a vessel that we know was really an industrial kind of workhorse," said Val Monahan, the Yukon government's heritage conservator.

"You don't think of something like music on board."

Monahan and Doug Davidge, president of the Yukon Transportation Museum, both said they hope some of the records can be restored to a playable condition.

"It does paint a quite a unique picture of how people would have enjoyed their time on the river," Davidge said.

"Hopefully there'll be something there that they can actually pull off the vinyl — in terms of a music track or sound or what have you — that might have been on that record, and hopefully in time we'll find out what type of music they were listening to."

Links :
  • Wired : 3-D scanner takes on the Goddard shipwreck
  • CBC : Gold Rush shipwreck named historic site

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