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Underwater Archaeology

The NYS Canal Corporation video above discusses the Seneca Lake Underwater Archaeology project at the press event held on July 30, 2021 at Sampson State Park on Seneca.

Links About the Project
June Scanning 2022 Activities

The research vessel David Folger returns to Seneca Lake this June to continue its bathymetric and historic shipwreck survey of the lake’s depths.  Researchers on board hope to gather data for producing new maps of the underwater terrain while documenting and exploring shipwrecks which lie at the bottom of the lake.

FLBM goes Archaeological!

FLBM has become the host organization for underwater archaeologist Art Cohn’s continued sonar scanning activities on Seneca Lake. Cohn was the principal investigator in the 2019 Seneca Lake Archaeological and Bathymetric Survey publication (available at FLBM’s gift shop) in which several sunken canal boats, including a rare passenger packet boat, were discovered. He has lectured about his findings at FLBM and other area organizations. Director Emeritus of the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum, Cohn continued mapping Seneca Lake using sonar equipment in July and August 2021 and is currently back on the lake for June 2022. Follow the project here for the latest press releases and updates.


In 2019, the boat’s sonar discovered the profile of a wreck in about 250’ of water which was suspected to be an early (pre-civil war) wreck of a canal packet boat.  This was confirmed with a ROV (remotely operated vessel) equipped with underwater cameras when deployed by the team in 2021.

The David Folger will be working out of the Sampson State Park area during the first half of June.  The team expects to then move the base of operations to Watkins Glen for the second half of the month as they finish the sonar work to the south.


The 48’ vessel is home-berthed on Lake Champlain and is owned by Middlebury College.  In the spring and fall, it is primarily used for the college’s lake studies and geology programs.  It’s onboard sonar equipment makes it perfectly suited for the Seneca Lake studies.

The team expects to be able to make at least one public presentation of the work involved, the dates and times to be announced.

RV Folger Crew w Ed.jpg
Tom Manley.jpg
Capt Dick Furbush.jpg
RV Folger Captain Richard Furbush
Sonar Technician Tom Manley

Onboard the RV Folger (l to r) is Operations Coordinator and Second Captain Tom Beardsley, Past FLBM Board President & Collections Committee Chair Ed Wightman, Principal Investigator Art Cohn, and

Assistant Sonar Technician Erin Hogan 

Assistant Sonar Tech 
Erin Hogan
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