"The city is sort of being creative to pay for this," Harris said.
The Maryland Archeological and Conservation Laboratory is a well-known center for historic preservation and has much experience caring for maritime artifacts, Schaffer said.
The lab is currently restoring a maritime palisade from Charleston, N.C., and an 18th century ship found last summer at the site of the World Trade Center after the buildings were destroyed in the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Harris said it took several attempts to find a suitable agency to handle the restoration of Newburyport's pier fragment. Officials first contacted the state's director of maritime archeology, who recommended a Vermont-based restoration company. But when it became apparent that hiring the Vermont company was economically unfeasible, local officials contacted the archeological officials at UMass Boston. Officials there quickly put them in contact with the University of Maryland and then the Maryland Archeological and Conservation Laboratory, Harris said.
"We are very pleased to find a center of expertise that is relatively economical," Harris said.