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The Mermaid Atoll Shipwreck: a mysterious early 19th-century loss
The report outlines the methods of archaeological survey, recording and excavation of the site, providing a comparison with the problems encountered on similar high energy, shallow water reef environment sites in Western Australia, and the methodologies used.
The archaeological material recovered from the site is described and analysed, the principal aim being to draw inferences about the identity of the vessel - its probable dimensions, its construction, function and origin. This information is then compared to the archival data in order to establish the historical background of the vessel. The distribution of artefacts over the site, their nature and condition is evaluated with the aim of developing a hypothesis as to the process of wrecking, and the natural wreck disintegration processes acting on the site, structure and artefacts.
Conservation of the artefacts is briefly discussed, with analytical reports being included in the Appendices. The concluding section draws the major findings together, correlating and assessing the archaeological and historical evidence.