Phoenix Burning, Case Study of a Shipwreck, Sabick, Summer 2019

Course Number:  EDU 5515 C45 (Graduate)
Instructor: Christopher Sabick
Location: Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Vergennes, VT & Phoenix Shipwreck Site-Colchester Shoal
Dates and Times:

July 1 – 3, 2019 from 8:30am – 4:30pm

Credits: 1 credit
Tuition: $750

Note: Please register directly with the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM). LCMM will give you the link to Castleton's online registration form. Tuition payments should be made to LCMM.

Course Description

Lake Champlain was a once a hot bed of experimentation for the development of steamboat technology, and the remains of some of those experiments still lie at the bottom of the lake’s cold dark waters. During this three day course participants will have the opportunity to take an in-depth look at the earliest steamboat shipwreck in North America, the steamboat Phoenix (1815-1819).

Witches, heroines, sabotage, human error?  Commemorate the 200th anniversary of an epic event with a look at the details of the story as we know it. Were the published accounts of the shipwreck fake news?  Do we have the full story?  Does the archaeological evidence confirm the conclusions that appeared at the time of the wreck?  What was the lasting impact of this early steam powered vessel and the dozens of steamboats the followed?  

 Audience: All Educators

Course Goals

The goal of this course is to explore the details of an historic local event using archaeological evidence, and shape those details into inquiry-based lesson plans for students.

Course Objectives

Participants will be able to:

  • Use archaeological tools to investigate a locally renowned shipwreck
  • Use primary sources to compare historical accounts
  • Place steamboat technology on Lake Champlain in the context of advancing19th century technology
  • Discuss how archaeological resources are discovered and used to interpret historical events
  • Develop and collaborate on lesson plans demonstrating how archaeological sources can be used to shape our understanding of historical events.
  • Present lesson plans to colleagues, classmates and museum staff.

Suggest Readings/Texts

  1. Ross, Ogden. The Steamboats of Lake Champlain 1809-1930. Pages 1-35
  2. Bellico, Russell P. Sails and Steam in the Mountains: A Maritime and Military History of Lake George and Lake Champlain. Chapter 12
  3. Crisman, Kevin et al. “Vermont’s Steamboat Pioneer: Captain Jahaziel Sherman of Vergennes”, Vermont History Vol 86, no 2, Summer/Fall 2018
  4. Schwarz, George R. The Steamboat Phoenix and the Archaeology of Early Steam Navigation in North America.

For additional course & registration information

Christopher Sabick
(802) 475-2022

Register online now!