Campsite of ship disaster survivors found in Alaska

Remains of a campsite of the survivors of a Russian ship, that broke apart off coast of South Alaska in 1813, was found at Kruzof Island in the Alexander Archipelago.

Site of Excavations (by Dave MacMahan)

The ill-fated voyage of the Russian ship The Neva ended in 1813 when the vessel broke off killing more than 30 people on board and forcing another 28 to find shelter ashore. The survivors camped in harsh Alaskan wilderness for about three weeks before they were rescued. Two of the survivors died during that period.

Piece of copper sheathing found at the site (by Gleb Mikhalev)

The first traces of the potential site were found in 2012 when remains of cooking fires and axes were discovered on Kruzof Island. Archaeologists tried to apply underwater sonar and metal detecting equipment to locate the shipwreck but were unsuccessful, because the rocks, containing iron minerals, were distorting the machines. Further artefacts left by the Russian crew members were found much farther inland, inside the forest. In 2015 some fire pits, burned bones and metal objects had been found, confirming the site was used by the  survivors of the Neva.

Axe-heads found at the site (by Dave MacMahan)

In 2016 a gravesite was found, possibly belonging to Tertii Stepanovich Bornovolokov, the highest-ranking crew member aboard the Neva when it crashed. An entire array of campfire sites was discovered in the forested area, away from the beach, due to changes in the sea level.

Artefacts from the campsite (by Alaska Dispatch News)

(after Dave MacMahan, Gleb Mikhalev, Alaska Dispatch News & Fox News Science)

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