Preservation of the USS Westfield

Justin Parkoff

Watch the Replay

The USS Westfield wreckage lay in the murky waters of the Texas City ship channel until 2009, when the disarticulated artifact debris field was recovered by Atkins Global (formerly PBS&J) during a dredging operation organized and orchestrated by the U.S. Corp of Engineers, making this Texas’ largest marine archaeology rescue project to date. The artifacts were brought to Texas A&M University’s Conservation Research Laboratory for conservation and analysis. Westfield’s fragmented remains offer abundant information about the steam machinery and armor, as the hull itself was not preserved. Justin Parkoff and Jessica Stika will review these artifacts and demonstrate how even the most scant archaeological evidence can be an asset if properly documented and studied. The importance of conservation for archaeological collections will also be discussed. In addition, they will share the future plans for reconstructing the artifacts into an interpretative museum display at the Texas City Museum that exhibits Westfield’s steam machinery and the vessel’s unique design.

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