May 4, 2010
NEWS RELEASE—For Immediate Release
New DVD Documentary on Lake George Shipwrecks, French & Indian War, and Underwater Archaeology
Pepe Productions, a Glens Falls, NY-based multi-media firm, and Bateaux Below, Inc., a not-for-profit corporation that studies Lake George, NY shipwrecks, have released their new DVD documentary—“Wooden Bones: The Sunken Fleet of 1758.” The 58 min. long DVD is the team’s second full-length documentary. The partnership’s first documentary, “The Lost Radeau: North America’s Oldest Intact Warship,” released in 2005, won three national awards for documentary and video excellence.
“Wooden Bones” examines the historical event at Lake George known as “The Sunken Fleet of 1758.” It was the autumn of 1758, three years into the French & Indian War (1755-1763). With winter approaching and no fort to protect their fleet, Fort William Henry had been destroyed the previous year, British forces at Lake George made a fateful decision. They deliberately sank much of their flotilla, over 260 warships, to protect their wooden vessels from their enemy, the French. The British put their watercraft into “cold storage” intending to raise them the following year. Many of these sunken vessels, however, were not retrieved in 1759 and today they offer unparalleled opportunities for scientific study.
“Wooden Bones: The Sunken Fleet of 1758” tells the story of this historical event and the modern-day investigation of these shipwrecks by Bateaux Below underwater archaeologists to better understand why the British decision to deliberately sink their Lake George squadron helped them win the French & Indian War.
Among the stories featured in the documentary are the archaeological study of the dozens of bateau wrecks found in Lake George, the strange story of a 1960 research submarine built to help photograph French & Indian War shipwrecks that was stolen and was mysteriously sunk in the lake, and an underwater archaeology project that mapped a submerged 1758-built military wharf, one of the best-preserved waterfront structures from the colonial era.
“Wooden Bones” examines interpretive programs that help tell the story of Lake George’s “Sunken Fleet of 1758”—school-conducted replica archaeology programs that built bateau watercraft, an underwater state park where scuba enthusiasts “Dive Into History,” and a cutting-edge endeavor where a science illustrator, a cell biologist, and an underwater archaeology team collaborated to create startling art that interpreted the micro-world of fauna inhabiting historic shipwrecks.
“Wooden Bones” is directed by Peter Pepe (Pepe Productions) and is written by underwater archaeologist Joseph W. Zarzynski (Bateaux Below, Inc.). John Whitesel created the animation and Kip Grant did the narration.
“Wooden Bones: The Sunken Fleet of 1758” DVD documentary is priced at $24.95. Part of the proceeds from its sale will go to Bateaux Below to support future underwater archaeology projects at Lake George. For more information including viewing the documentary trailer and how to order the DVD, consult the web site: www.woodenbones.com