Naval Historical Center to Host a Meeting of the CSS ALABAMA Scientific Committee.
On 7, 8, and 9 November, 2000, the Naval Historical Center based on the Washington Navy Yard will host a meeting of the CSS ALABAMA Scientific
Committee. This meeting normally occurs after a season of diving on the Confederate raider ALABAMA off Cherbourg. The diving expeditions have
visited CSS ALABAMA on a fairly regular basis since 1990. By the Executive Agreement of 3 October 1989, a joint bi-national scientific committee was
established to study the results of the diving expeditions and to recommend to the French Ministry of Culture a plan for the ensuing year. Usually, the
meetings alternate between Washington and Paris. The last meeting occurred in May 1998 in Paris. No meeting was held in 1999 because the diving
produced only a site survey and no artifacts were recovered. This year is an important one because last July's dive produced a good many artifacts,
including a 3-ton 32 pounder.
Those attending the meeting will be two representatives of the French Ministry of Culture, two French members of the
Committee (underwater archaeologists by profession), the two Committee representatives of the U.S. (Kevin Foster of the National Park Service and
Dr. Bill Dudley), Dr. Bob Neyland U.S. archaeological expert, Mr. Robert Edington, representating the non-profit CSS ALABAMA Association (based in
Mobile), Mme. Ulane Bonnel, representing of the Association CSS ALABAMA (based in Paris), and Dr. Gordon Watts of East Carolina University, a
leading American underwater archaeologist who is the principal investigator of the project. The participants pay their own way to the conference and
their own lodging expenses. The results of the meeting will be a recommendation to the Ministry of Culture on the future course of these
expeditions. In the past, the French non-profit Association CSS ALBAMA, backed by the consortium Electricite de France, paid most of the bills and
provided the divers, but since 1997, the U.S. began to shoulder the expenses because the French ran out of money when their sponsor backed out.
Currently, the CSS ALABAMA project receives about $250K annually from the DOD Cultural Legacy Management Fund and about $60K (?) from the U.S.
non-profit based in Mobile, to support diving operations and to conserve the artifacts that are brought up. These artifacts are the property of the U.S.
government and the Navy (NHC) is the custodian of the artifacts. The Naval Historical Center's Underwater Archaeology Branch oversees the project for the NHC."