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  • Writer's pictureDon Wilding

Underneath Stellwagen Bank

Sanctuary archaeologist Matthew Lawrence photographs the Paul Palmer shipwreck. PHOTO COURTESY OF HEATHER KNOWLES/NORTHEN ATLANTIC DIVE EXPEDITIONS

When it comes to experiencing maritime history, many of us have to dig through newspaper archives, books, and other written forms of communication to get the story.

Matthew Lawrence, on the other hand, gets to literally “walk the decks” of the sunken vessels. The public will have a chance to get a glimpse into his world when he visits the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History on April 14.

Lawrence has been a maritime archaeologist with the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary of Scituate since 2002.

Stellwagen Bank sanctuary encompasses historic shipping routes and fishing grounds used for the past 400 years. During that time, New England’s stormy weather and the density of traffic passing between Cape Cod and Cape Ann have led to hundreds of shipwrecks. Lawrence is the guy who gets to research all this, whether it’s by diving or using a ROV (remotely operated vehicle).

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