MILLERSVILLE, Pa., Nov. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- History and archeology
students from Millersville University of Pennsylvania plan to spend next
summer at the Bermuda Maritime Museum to research smuggling, iron and sugar
during the 18th century.
As part of "The Atlantic World Project" they will study a link between
the archeological excavations by Millersville students of Dr. Timothy
Trussell at the Elizabeth Furnace Plantation in Lancaster County, Pa., and
the archiving of the Manila shipwreck off Bermuda by Millersville history
students of Dr. Clarence Maxwell with the Bermuda Maritime Museum.
"Archeologists and historians don't normally work together," Dr.
Trussell said, "but we found we had a mystery, "What were Elizabeth Furnace
stove plates doing in a shipwreck off Bermuda?'"
What the project has discovered so far, is that iron was a commodity
needed by every sugar plantation for refining sugar - and the islands
couldn't produce iron themselves. Finished ironwork from Pennsylvania went
west and south from Bermuda for sugar production and bar iron would go east
to be traded as currency in Africa and used to buy slaves.
The slaves were then traded where demand was greatest: French or
English sugar islands, South Carolina, Virginia, etc. Bermudians were able
to act as middlemen, obtaining illegal French sugar which could then be
sold in Philadelphia at great profit.
"We have years more of research and a complex web of smuggling to
untangle," Dr. Trussell said. "Philadelphia traders and the aristocrats of
that time were very much involved. In fact, the daughter of a prominent
Philly merchant lived in Bermuda and is buried there."
To help with the research, Millersville University now has a standing
cooperative agreement with the Bermuda Maritime Museum. The director of the
museum, Dr. Edward C. Harris, will have Millersville's archaeology program
function as the "terrestrial arm" of the museum's research program. The
museum, in return, will provide housing for students, equipment and the use
of their laboratory.
The next step is to raise funds to ensure students will be able to go
to Bermuda next summer for testing, excavation, research and writing
"Students will be involved in every aspect of documentary and
archaeological research," said Trussell. "We cannot do this without them."
SOURCE Millersville University