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News and events

News & events

Discovered by a Rice Rivers Center researcher while trawling the James River, the five-foot-long 19th century anchor will go on display overlooking the river

VCU researcher discovers 19th-century anchor while hunting for juvenile sturgeon

February 27, 2019

By Brian McNeill, Univesity Public Affairs

In search of juvenile sturgeon, Virginia Commonwealth University researcher Matt Balazik, Ph.D., was pulling a trawl along the bottom of the James River near the VCU Rice Rivers Center when the large conical net he was pulling behind the boat hit a snag.

It’s not unusual for the trawl to get stuck. But the reason for this particular snag was highly unusual. It was stuck on a 5-foot-long, wrought-iron anchor that most likely once belonged to a two, three or four-mast commercial cargo vessel that traversed the James River during the 1800s, possibly prior to the Civil War.

“It was a pleasant surprise because usually when we snag something big it turns out to be a tree or large piece of metal,” Balazik said. “Even though technically this is just an old piece of iron that we had to pull up by hand, and caused damage to our gear that took days to repair, I’m very happy we snagged it.”

Read the the entire VCU News article, "VCU researcher discovers 19th-century anchor while hunting for juvenile sturgeon."

 

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