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State Submerged Resources > Connecticut


The name Connecticut is derived from the Algonquin word "quonehtacut" which means "long tidal river." Located in the northeastern part of the country, the state abuts both the Atlantic Ocean and Long Island Sound. Major rivers include the Connecticut River, the Housatonic River, and the Thames River. Major lakes include Lake Castlewood. Almost 700 square miles (13% of the state) are covered in water.

What kinds of shipwrecks are there in Connecticut?

The historical record indicates that there are potentially thousands of shipwrecks and submerged historical sites lying in the state's waters. A number of different types of wrecks have already been discovered.

In 1911, workers pumping water from a pond discovered a late 16th to early 17th century dugout canoe. Native Americans carved this canoe from a solid piece of American chestnut. Examination of the canoe determined that its builder used controlled burning and chiseling tools, a "scorch and strip" technique to hollow the center of the log. While no one can say for certain who built the canoe, Ramapo and Titicus villages and the Paugessett tribe were in the area at the time.

In 1999, a recreational diver discovered the remains of a Connecticut Brownstone Schooner. Connecticut brownstone was a popular building material in the mid to late 19th century. The remains of this ship provide a glimpse into these "Brownstoners" of the era.

Who takes care of Connecticut's underwater archeological sites?

The Connecticut Commission on Culture and Tourism is charged with oversight on cultural matters. Within the Commission is the Historic Preservation and Museum Division which manages the state's archeological programs in partnership with the State Archeologist at the University of Connecticut (Storrs). All artifacts and data gathered during archeological investigations are held at the State Museum of Natural History. The state claims jurisdiction over all lands owned, leased or administered by the state.

What permits do I need to study shipwrecks?

The Commission, with the concurrence of the State Archaeologist, issues permits for archeological studies on State land including submerged land. Permits require professional experience, training, and knowledge. The applicant's research design must advance the public's knowledge of archeological heritage and maximize the in situ conservation of the resources.

What laws are there about underwater archeology in Connecticut?

Laws relating to the state's archeological resources can be found at Connecticut General Statutes 10-381, et seq. and 10-392, et seq., and related regulations can be found at Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies 10-386-1, et seq. These laws and regulations declare that the state's culture and history contribute significant value to the vitality, quality of life, and economic health of the state.

Related Websites:

Connecticut Archaeology Center