The first stage of the data recovery project will be the archaeological phase which will entail mapping, tagging artifacts, excavation of test units and recovery of small artifacts. This will involve only the archaeologists and last about 5 months. Once the US Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) has come on-site, we will move to the second phase: unexploded ordnance, large artifact and remaining casemate recovery. This phase will also include on-board advisors from the US Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) as the US Navy has responsibility for the wreck site.
Reburial or Redeposition of Selected Artifacts and Casemate Sections
Artifact and vessel component conservation or reburial will be dictated by priorities and options for display and long-term curation. It is the intention to redeposit and bury the majority of larger recovered casemate sections along with wood fragments, disarticulated railroad iron, and miscellaneous redundant artifacts (i.e., fastener and metal fragments, concretions, etc.). The final decision on the disposition of the casemate sections and other materials will be validated by NHHC personnel. All artifacts and vessel remains will be documented prior to reburial. Care will be taken during the reburial process to ensure the surviving remains of CSS Georgia's casemate are preserved, protected, and accessible in the event that future priorities and available funding make removal, conservation, reconstruction and display possible.
Selected artifacts and casemate sections will be conserved by Conservation Research Laboratory (CRL) located at Texas A&M University. CRL specializes in conservation of underwater artifacts. The conservation process may take up to 2 years for the larger artifacts.
Curation and Exhibits
The US Navy is the federal agency with responsibility for the CSS Georgia wreck site and remains. Therefore conserved artifacts and casemate remains will be curated at one of NHHC’s repositories. At present there are no museums that have agreements with NHHC for planned exhibits of the artifacts, but several groups have been approached and expressed interest.