Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Underwater Archaeology and the SS Mount Temple Project


Title: Underwater Archaeology and the SS Mount Temple Project

Abstract: In the summer of 1916, American fossil collectors Charles H. Sternberg and son Levi worked under contract to the British Museum of Natural History, London, England, in the badlands of Alberta, now Dinosaur Provincial Park and collected numerous dinosaur and other fossil specimens to be shipped to London.

Charles Sternberg envisioned public dinosaur exhibits of a caliber rivaling those in New York and Ottawa. SS Milwaukee successfully transported the first shipment, but the second lot, consisting of 22 wooden crates, was aboard the Canadian Pacific Railway steamship Mount Temple.

On December 6, 1916 the Mount Temple was attacked by the German surface raider SMS Moewe and sank in the waters about 14,440 feet (4,375 meters) deep and 455 miles N.W. of the western Azores.

The ship was to have stopped in Brest, France, then England where the fossils were to be off-loaded. The great depth of Mount Temple is not beyond the reach of current deep water technologies and there have been some suggestions of trying to relocate it and salvage some of the fossils if present.

Date: 2005-03-16

Speaker: Geoffrey McCafferty

University of Calgary

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