- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 4, 2002

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (AP) Archaeologists and conservators have finished removing sediment from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor's gun turret, which was raised from the bottom of the Atlantic during the summer.
A team at the Mariners' Museum will begin a 12- to 15-year conservation process, concentrating first on separating the Union ship's two cannons from their carriages so they can be removed from the turret next year, museum officials said yesterday.
"This is going to be a very busy winter for the conservation team at the museum," said Curtiss Peterson, the museum's chief conservator.
During the next few months, researchers will analyze the more than 400 artifacts that have been recovered from the turret, as well as the Monitor's engine, said John Broadwater, manager of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and director of the turret excavation.
The Monitor and the Confederate ship CSS Virginia, formerly named the Merrimack, revolutionized naval warfare and architecture when they fought to a draw in the first battle of ironclads on March 9, 1862, in the Hampton Roads harbor near Newport News.
The Monitor sank, upside down, in a storm on Dec. 13, 1862, 16 miles off Hatteras, N.C. Sixteen sailors died.
A joint Navy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration team used a huge crane to raise the 120-ton revolving turret on Aug. 5, ending a five-year effort to save major artifacts from the deteriorating wreckage.
An expedition planned for next year will document changes to the wreck site and search for artifacts in the hole left in the seabed when the turret was removed.

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