The Monterrey Shipwreck: Meet the Team

The Monterrey Shipwreck Project Science Team Onboard the E/V Nautilus

National Geographic Grantee and Texas State University Research Faculty Frederick “Fritz” Hanselmann and a team of leading archaeologists are conducting an expedition to the Monterrey Shipwreck in order to carry out the deepest archaeological shipwreck excavation ever in North America. Follow along with Fritz’s updates from the field.

By Fritz Hanselmann

As the Monterrey Shipwreck is such a unique and awesome site, we’ve assembled a great team to carry out this research and delve into the investigation of the sunken vessel.  We’re taking a multi-institutional, multi-disciplinary approach to mapping, studying, and sampling this shipwreck.  Inasmuch, the team works very cohesively and despite respective titles, our managerial structure is horizontal with no unilateral decision-making.  It is a great working environment!

Onboard Science Team: 

Principal Investigators: Fritz Hanselmann, Texas State University Meadows Center for Water and the Environment; Dr. Christopher Horrell, Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement; Amy Borgens, Texas Historical Commission

Chief Scientists: Frank Cantelas, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research; Dr. Jack Irion, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management

Project Archaeologists: Dr. James P. Delgado, NOAA Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; Dr. Alicia Caporaso, Burueau of Ocean Energy Management

Expedition Leader: Dr. Michael Brennan, University of Rhode Island

Operations Leader: Reuben Mills, Ocean Exploration Trust (not pictured)

In addition to our onboard scientists, OET researchers, and the crew of the E/V Nautilus, we have over 30 other archaeologists, biologists, geologists, conservationists, and educators connecting live with the shipboard science team from Exploration Command Centers the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University, Texas A&M-Galveston, and the University of Rhode Island Inner Space Center, not to mention the many others that are tuned in and broadcasting live to the public.  One of the most fascinating aspects of this project is the ability to connect with people around the world and work together for the study and protection of our shared marine resources, both cultural and biological.

Funding provided by foundations and individual donors through the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment and the Office of Advancement at Texas State University, the Way Family Foundation, and the Harte Family Foundation. 

NEXT: Mapping the Site

Changing Planet

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Frederick "Fritz" Hanselmann is Research Faculty, who serves as the Chief Underwater Archaeologist and Diving Program Director with the Meadows Center for Water and the Environment at Texas State University. He is also the director of The Meadows Center's Underwater Archaeology and Exploration Initiative. Fritz learned how to swim at age three, and has been in love with the water ever since, having been taught to breath hold dive by his grandfather diving for golf balls tied in a sock in the Gulf of Mexico. Having worked on underwater sites from a wide variety of time periods, his research ranges from submerged prehistoric deposits in springs and caves to historic shipwrecks in Latin America and the Caribbean, including the wreck of the Quedagh Merchant, abandoned by Captain Kidd in 1699 off the coast of Hispaniola. Fritz led the first-ever archaeological survey of the mouth of the Chagres River in Panama as the initial phase of the ongoing Río Chagres Maritime Landscape Study. One aspect of this study is the Lost Ships of Henry Morgan Project, the search for the famous privateer's sunken ships. He is one of the Principal Investigators of the Monterrey Shipwreck Project in the Gulf of Mexico, which is the deepest shipwreck excavation ever conducted in North America, in collaboration with three federal agencies, three universities, and three non-profit organizations. Fritz is also the co-director of the Sunken Ships of Colombia project, which focuses on finding, documenting, studying, and managing historic shipwrecks along the Caribbean coast of Colombia. The Spring Lake Underwater Archaeology Project on the university's campus also falls under his supervision and he assists other projects in Mexico and Texas as part of the Initiative. Fritz also focuses on capacity building and training for archaeologists and heritage managers in less developed countries, as well as the development of marine protected areas and underwater preserves. He is a GUE Cave and Technical Diver, a Nautical Archaeology Society Tutor, a certified scuba instructor, an ambassador for Aquadive Watches, and a fellow of the Explorer’s Club. Fritz regularly gives public lectures and presentations for museums, universities, and other organizations.