Press Release

It’s not very often someone gets to play an integral part in preserving a piece of our history. But AECOM Archaeologist Erik Phaneuf is doing just that.

Phaneuf, who specializes in naval architecture, historical and subaquatic archeology, visited an early 19th century shipwreck that was found last winter on a beach in Douglastown on the Gaspé Peninsula, Quebec, Canada. Since December the wreck has rapidly deteriorated, with part of the wreck out of the sand, planks scattered on the beach and the ship’s ribs damaged from the ice last winter.

Phaneuf, who is based in the AECOM Baie-Comeau office, drew plans of the wreckage, took photos and made an architectural analysis by checking details like wood species. His first possible conclusion was that the ship was used for coastal navigation from Douglastown to large cities on the upper St. Lawrence or to the Maritimes.

“There are no records about the shipwreck, so it is very unlikely that I will find out the ship’s name or identity,” says Phaneuf.

For now Phaneuf will provide his recommendations to the Quebec Minister of Culture in hopes that the wreck will be preserved. He will suggest excavation of the wreck prior to building a rockfill around the wreck and covering it with sand. He said the hull bottom is well preserved with many artifacts and considers it an important witness to Quebec history worth protecting for the future.