The historical knowledge about a submerged archaeological site can be insufficient to initiate and plan a field investigation. More detailed information about the nature of a shipwreck and its cargo can be neccessary to develop a historical context and create an historical overview. MR&C can provide a detailed archival research plan as a first step in the process towards research on site.
A. Archival and literature research
Based on the archival research plan, MR&C can also carry out the archival and literature research.
Information can be obtained from the following sources:
- Published and unpublished reports and documents such as books, journals, diaries, ship's logs, maps and newspapers;
- Files and data contained in local and national archives worldwide;
- Consultations with any qualified professionals having knowledge of cultural resources in the area;
- Consultations with amateur historians, genealogists, and individuals knowledgeable in naval history and local history.
B. Analysis of historical data
All historical data will be processed, described, and analyzed. The purpose of the data analyses will be to evaluate the information obtained as a result of the archival research to produce a quality research report. The major goals of the analysis will be to create a scholarly research document that defines a historic context for the vessel. It also provides a detailed description of its journey, operation, sinking, and (if applicable) early salvage. This can be used in designing field investigations, identifying research hypotheses fieldwork, identifying artifacts and vessel components, and interpreting the results of the fieldwork.