The Day the Johnboat Went up the Mountain
Stories from My Twenty Years in South Carolina Maritime Archaeology
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: University of South Carolina Press
Download PDF (258.7 KB)
Download PDF (48.0 KB)
List of Illustrations
Download PDF (42.5 KB)
Download PDF (48.5 KB)
Maritime archaeology is a team effort. The stories told here result from the combined efforts of the members of the Maritime Research Division at the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. In addition to their endeavors in the field, their hard work in finding funds, researching records, ...
Twenty Years and Counting
Download PDF (49.0 KB)
On a blustery fall day in 1986, I walked into Buddy Line Divers in Mount Pleasant, where I was a staff instructor, and went straight to the shop’s bulletin board. Looking at the scuba course sign-up sheet, I noticed that few names appeared on the lists for my upcoming scuba courses. ...
The Lewisfield—No, Two Cannon—No, Little Landing Wreck Site
Download PDF (217.8 KB)
It was October 1985, and sport divers Bobby Snowden, Steve Thornhill, and Don Ard were on the bottom of the Cooper River off Lewisfield Plantation. The three had read stories of Revolutionary War vessels being burned and sunk at the plantation and decided to look for their remains. ...
Download PDF (166.3 KB)
As I struggled through the chest-deep mud that filled the old Santee Canal after nearly 150 years of neglect, I realized the past reveals its secrets reluctantly. They often hide in the most awful places. This revelation came as no sudden epiphany. It came after days in the thick muck, probing for the remains of canal boats and lock structures. ...
The Day the Johnboat Went up the Mountain
Download PDF (190.6 KB)
We arrived at the Mulberry mound and village archaeological site on the Wateree River with our fourteen-foot johnboat, our four-wheel-drive Suburban, our Dodge Carry Van, and all the dive gear, scuba tanks, water pumps, dredge hoses, artifact screens, and dredges heads we could fit into the boat and two vehicles. ...
Download PDF (147.4 KB)
Shortly after joining the SCIAA staff in 1987, I was assigned the task of researching early shipbuilding in South Carolina. Going through newspaper accounts, ship registers, deed abstracts, wills, estate inventories, and numerous other colonial and early state records, I came across a 1786 plat of a large shipyard. ...
Dredging for the First Americans
Download PDF (115.6 KB)
Huge cypress trees rising from the waters of Smiths Lake Creek in Allendale County shaded us from the August sun as we prepared our scuba gear. On the opposite bank, an eight-foot alligator slithered into the water, surfacing no more than thirty feet from where we intended to enter the creek. ...
The Upside-Down Wreck
Download PDF (136.6 KB)
Divers, anglers, boaters, canoers, kayakers, and persons who just like to explore their local rivers, bays, and creeks stumble onto all sorts of maritime relics. These “explorers” are having eureka moments over dugout canoes, barges, ferry vessels, old rice field gates, and, now and then, the odd shipwreck. ...
Salvage License #32
Download PDF (84.6 KB)
State archaeologists cringe at the thought of dealing with salvage divers. They would rather eat glass. Archaeologists see these treasure hunters as human termites, devouring archaeological sites through their greed—a kind of blight on the scientific landscape of archaeological research. ...
The Wreck of the SS William Lawrence
Download PDF (246.8 KB)
As I lowered the milk crate full of artifacts over the side of our vessel and watched it sink beneath the waves, I thought how strange it was to be returning artifacts to a wreck site. It is most often the other way around. Usually we retrieve artifacts from a site. ...
Download PDF (306.1 KB)
Licensed hobby diver Doug Boehme’s artifact reports for the third quarter of 1994 were startling, even amazing. During those three months, he reported finding fifty-three whole projectile points (arrowheads and spear points), twenty-three broken points, thirty-one scrapers, two bannerstones, two drill points, ...
Joe and the Alligator
Download PDF (123.8 KB)
We were on the Strawberry Wreck with a group of students in our underwater archaeology field training course when Joe Beatty had his first encounter with an alligator. The students had learned the proper methods of recording a shipwreck—measuring and drawing the frames, keel, keelson, planking, and fasteners ...
Brown’s Ferry Vessel Arrives in Georgetown
Download PDF (126.2 KB)
As they had for hundreds of years, the citizens of Georgetown awaited the appearance of a vessel. Since its founding in 1729, this port city has looked seaward for arriving ships. Only this one was not coming by sea, but by truck. ...
Those Darn Dugouts
Download PDF (195.1 KB)
The reporter’s question wasn’t all that unusual. He asked if we knew anything about a prehistoric dugout canoe recently retrieved from the Cooper River by a scuba diver. For decades boaters, anglers, and divers have been discovering long-lost dugout log canoes in the marshes, mudflats, and river bottoms of the South Carolina lowcountry. ...
The Hunley, the Housatonic, and the Indian Chief
Download PDF (120.1 KB)
They say the only true measure of an archaeological endeavor is how much it enriches the cultural record—in other words, how much we learn about our past and therefore ourselves. Based on that criterion, the H. L. Hunley project has been a smashing success. ...
The Mysterious French Cargo Site
Download PDF (86.4 KB)
Every now and again maritime archaeologists come across an underwater site that defies explanation, one that leaves them scratching their heads in sheer bewilderment. One such site is in the west branch of the Cooper River. ...
The Cooper River Anchor Farm
Download PDF (149.7 KB)
What is it about old ship anchors? What exactly is their appeal as decorative items? I can see why a seafood restaurant would want a few of these barnacle-encrusted relics outside the premises, perhaps on either side of the front door. Should a prospective customer miss the forty-foot fiberglass lobster/crab/fish (pick one) on the roof ...
Mowing the Lawn
Download PDF (113.1 KB)
Perhaps this would be a good place to discuss how maritime archaeologists find shipwrecks. The process starts with archival research. This means dreary hours in library stacks, historical society manuscript collections, public record offices, and newspaper archives and, today, online. ...
Download PDF (157.4 KB)
We were running out Charleston Harbor, pushed by a strong ebb. Our plan was to relocate the remains of the Union ironclad Keokuk with our magnetometer and, if possible, our side-scan sonar. This was in February 2001, and I was driving our offshore survey vessel, a twenty-five-foot C-Hawk with twin 115-horsepower Evinrudes. ...
“Never Sausage an Artifact”
Download PDF (103.0 KB)
The headline in the Hilton Head Island Packet read, “Never Sausage an Artifact.” Below the headline was a picture of Chris Amer holding an empty, dented, and slightly crushed Vienna sausage can, its labeling worn from spending years (or perhaps only months) in the mud beneath Chechessee Creek. ...
Download PDF (587.0 KB)
All shipwrecks are significant. This is a given in maritime archaeology. No matter its age or type, whether it’s prehistoric or historic, the remains of these long-lost vessels hold the potential for answering important questions about our past. It is a concept drilled into the skulls of undergraduate archaeology students pursuing the nautical side of that science. ...
Download PDF (116.9 KB)
Download PDF (593.9 KB)
Page Count: 272
Publication Year: 2012