Stockton University Researches Shipwreck in Port Republic

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Stockton University faculty and students are on the cusp of a unique discovery that sits right beneath a South Jersey bridge.

Beneath the Mullica River Bridge in Port Republic, sits a shipwreck. 

“Who can say they were a part of recovering artifacts from a revolutionary war battle?” said graduate, Jaymes Swain.

“It doesn’t have a name but it was one of the shipwrecks that was part of the Battle of Chestnut Neck. That happened October 6th, 1778,” says Adjunct Professor, Steven Nagiewicz. 

In 2014, Stockton University digitally mapped the Robert J. Walker, a U.S. Coast Survey Steamer that sank just before the Civil War began, with sonar technology.Nonprofit Helps Coast Guard Families During Government Shutdown 

Now, Nagiewicz and his students are still trying to fully identify the wreck under the bridge and assign it to a period with other ships in the river that could have possibly been a part of the same battle.

“A lot of the work was done in the summer. With three or four students that were there to learn how to use the technology side scan sonar magnetometer to see if there was any metal on the wrecks that would indicate anchors or cannons,” said Nagiewicz. 

“I did more of the technical aspects operating the side scan sonar and post processing all of the collected data for any identifiable targets or any unknown targets that could be an object that would be related to battle that occurred,” said Swain. 

Currently, it’s all a matter of nominating the wreck into the National Parks Register of Historic Places, which Nagiewicz predicts will take up to a year and a half. 

I am a part of history now we've found these things and are identifying them and through various process recovering artifacts that I can show my kids later on,” said Swain. 

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