Magazine article USA TODAY

Capt. Kidd Shipwreck Becoming a Museum

Magazine article USA TODAY

Capt. Kidd Shipwreck Becoming a Museum

Article excerpt

The Capt. William Kidd shipwreck site and three other underwater preserves in the Dominican Republic are being turned into no-take, no-anchor "Living Museums," where cultural discoveries will protect precious corals and other threatened biology in the surrounding reef systems. The U.S. Agency for International Development has awarded Indiana University $200,000 to make the conversion.

The news comes just months after the unexpected discovery of teakwood on the Capt. Kidd site, a discovery that archaeologists say confirms that this is the Cara Merchant, the ship Capt. Kidd commandeered and then abandoned in 1699 as he raced to New York in an ill-fated attempt to clear his name of piracy charges.

"When we removed a cannon this summer for future identification, we exposed the keel of the ship," explains Charles Beeker, director of the IU Office of Underwater Science. "I'm just shocked that the keel is still there, but the reason it's probably there is because it was teak, which is resistant to decomposition."

Much of Beeker's work is focused in the area of La Isabela Bay, the site of the first permanent Spanish settlement established by Christopher Columbus. …

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