Lake Talks series to explore Wisconsin shipwrecks with maritime archaeologist

The fall season of Wisconsin’s Sea Grant’s “Lake Talks” continues on Thursday, Oct. 14, from 7-8 p.m. Speaker Caitlin Zant, a maritime archaeologist with the Wisconsin Historical Society, will focus on “Shipwrecks of Wisconsin.”

A diver examines the wreck of the Australasia, which sank in Lake Michigan in 1896 following a fire on board. Fortunately, no lives were lost. (Photo: Wisconsin Historical Society)

The virtual event, held on Zoom, is open to everyone, though registration is required. (Register for this event now.) The hour includes time for audience questions.

Attendees will discover hidden history beneath our waters and explore some of Wisconsin’s 750 Great Lakes shipwrecks. Learn how maritime archaeologists document these time capsules and help preserve and protect Wisconsin’s rich maritime past. Of any state, Wisconsin has the most individually listed shipwrecks on the National Register of Historic Places.

Zant has been a maritime archaeologist at the Historical Society since 2014. She holds a master’s degree in maritime studies and underwater archaeology from East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina. Prior to that, she earned a bachelor’s degree in history, geography and earth sciences at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. She holds the RPA credential from the Register of Professional Archaeologists.

Caitlin Zant talks to Girl Scouts at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum about shipwrecks and the aquatic sciences. (Photo: Wendy Lutzke)

She is also a Wisconsin Sea Grant-funded investigator currently working on a project called “Boatloads of Lumber,” which includes both the development of educational materials for kids of all ages and a field school to train recreational divers and archaeology enthusiasts in proper techniques for surveying and documenting shipwrecks.

Remaining Lake Talks in the fall season will focus on Great Lakes children’s literature by Native American authors (November) and a conversation with Minnesota-based poet Moheb Soliman, who draws upon his Great Lakes travels in his work, including his most recent poetry collection, HOMES (December). Those talks will also be delivered via Zoom.

For Lake Talks event and registration information, visit the Sea Grant website, or follow Wisconsin Sea Grant on Facebook or Twitter. You can register for Caitlin Zant’s shipwreck presentation now.

For questions about this series, contact Wisconsin Sea Grant science communicator Jennifer Smith.