York River may yield new Revolutionary War shipwreck

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Two of the nation's foremost underwater archaeologists began work in the river off Yorktown Beach Wednesday morning, surveying the previously undetected wreck of a ship that may have been scuttled by the British during the Revolution.

Brought in by the Department of Historic Resources' Threatened Sites Program, the team includes Williamsburg-based John D. Broadwater — who recovered the historic turret of the USS Monitor in 2002 — and North Carolina-based Gordon Watts — who discovered the famous ironclad off Cape Hatteras in 1973.

But despite having spent thousands of hours exploring this historic stretch of the York River over the past 35 years, the pair will be getting their first direct look at a wreck that — until the bottom currents shifted a few years ago — has been buried under a deep layer of silt and oyster shells.

The unidentified ship is believed to be part of a fleet of nearly 60 British vessels that were anchored off Yorktown during the October 1781 battle that ended the Revolution....

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