August Club Meeting

We are honored to welcome James Sinclair as he talks about archaeological diving and shares his experiences tracking treasure among some of the most famous shipwrecks in the world.

You will recognize him as part of the investigative team with Discovery Channel’s documentary series COOPER’S TREASURE. It tells the incredible story of astronaut, Gordon Cooper, and the secret treasure map he began from space. With his map in hand, a team of explorers and researchers set out to uncover the world’s greatest treasures.

He is a marine archaeologist, who started his career in 1980 working with the famous treasure hunter Mel Fisher in his quest for the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, 1622. The search culminated in the 1985 discovery of the primary cultural deposit of this shipwreck and included over $400 million in intrinsically valuable material. As director of the laboratories charged with the conservation of this find Mr. Sinclair oversaw the conservation of over 500,000 archaeological objects and helped develop techniques currently used in laboratories around the world. Sinclair also assisted in the archaeological recovery of the sister ship to the Atocha, the Santa Margarita, where over $20 million of treasure was recovered and he is still serves as the Chief archeologist on the 1622 Fleet Shipwrecks.

In 1984, Sinclair took part in expeditions off the State of Vera Cruz, Mexico investigating possible ship losses in that region. This work would eventually culminate in the location of the U.S.S Summers which was the only United States Naval vessel to ever experience a mutiny aboard.

In 2000 Mr. Sinclair became the first professional archaeologist to visit the wreck site of the RMS Titanic. By utilizing the MIR submersible he performed the first archaeological survey of the stern artifact scatter (debris field). He also worked on the wreck of the SS Central America, 1857 in 8,000 fsw and assisted Odyssey Marine Exploration in retrieving the remaining gold. In 2001 Sinclair was the lead archaeologist on a historic period shipwreck discovered in 16,300 feet of water in the Blake Basin in the mid-Atlantic, to date the deepest archaeological recovery of historic period shipwreck remains.

From 2009-2011 Sinclair worked on a project investigating the possible remains of a privateer vessel commissioned by Ben Franklin during the American Revolutionary War and was broadcast by National Geographic as “Ben Franklin’s Pirate Fleet”. Jim was project archaeologist investigating shipwrecks in the Republic of Panama, most notably one that was thought to be a ship of Christopher Columbus on his 4th voyage and the site of the 1631 San Jose, which sank with over 400,000 silver coins onboard.

Sinclair has been the chief archaeologist on projects that range from searching for a legendary shipwreck in Indonesia, the Portuguese Shipwreck the Flor de la Mar, 1511. His work has taken him to the U.S. territory of Guam where recoveries were made on the shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora del Pilar, 1691, and also throughout the Caribbean. Jim has worked on the Dutch protectorate island of St. Eustatius, NA investigating part of a sunken city and wharf complex associated with colonial trade at this the earliest “Freeport” in the New World. He has also conducted investigations on the islands of Barbuda, Anguilla and the Bahamas.

Mr. Sinclair has worked in Canada on the wrecks of Le Chameau, 1731 and that of a Fleet of ships lost off of Prospect Nova Scotia thought to be carrying plunder from the sacking of Washington, DC in 1814. In conjunction with Odyssey Marine, Jason Williams productions and Discovery Channel. Sinclair Helped to investigate the remains of the Lusitania, to determine if the passenger liner was carrying munitions or not.

Most recently Sinclair helped to discover what may be the first evidence in a maritime context of the French presence in the New World dating back to 1565. Mr. Sinclair is a diver, researcher, explorer and speaker/lecturer who has given over 500 talks worldwide on shipwrecks and their treasures.

This is a night you don’t want to miss! Meet new dive buddies, reconnect with old ones, and talk all things related to diving! It’s sure to be a night full of food, drink and fun. Hope to see you there!


Club Meeting:

August 9, 2017 at 6:30 pm
Timberwood Grill
3311 Worth Crossing, Charlottesville, VA 22911



6:30  Social Time
7:00  General Business
7:30 Keynote Speaker – Tracking Treasure, James Sinclair

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