2010 ECU Maritime Studies Field School
In June 2010, UNC-CSI assisted with ECU's 2010 Maritime Studies Field School. Students from ECU's Maritime Studies Master Degree Program worked on the Outer Banks for four weeks. They catalogued shipwrecks of the region while also learning proper archaeological techniques. The shipwrecks studied during this field school included wrecks that remain submerged, as well as wrecks that have washed up on the beach.
The students mapped three shipwrecks found south of Oregon Inlet. The submerged shipwrecks studied were the Oreintal, Strathairly and a LST. During the mapping process student dive teams were sent into the ocean with the goal of mapping a specific area on the wreck. A baseline was anchored in place to provide the students with a stable point to take measurements. Working underwater presented the students with a number of unique challenges including limited working time, communication struggles and precise data collection in a shifting environment. The data collected from the dive teams are combined through a process called drafting, which produces scaled drawings of the entire shipwreck that can be used as baseline data for artifacts that are subject to constant weathering and degradation.
Along with underwater wrecks, this Archaeology field school also studied shipwrecks which have washed out of the ocean and onto the beaches. The students worked to map a shipwreck that washed up in Corolla and has been moved to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum on Hatteras Island, as well as an O'Keefe site and Buffel Head rd site in Corolla, the Francis E. Waters at the Nags Head Town Hall and the Laura A. Barnes at Coquina Beach. Some of these wrecks required excavation in order to collect data, and the students worked with shovels to expose the wrecks. All sand was returned to its original place at the conclusion of the field school. These wrecks that are exposed to the elements on beaches and in surf zones degrade quickly, and documentation of them creates a record of the shipwrecks in their present condition that can be referred to at a later time.
Outreach and education was a large component of this field school as well. It is important for the students to not only collect data, but also to inform the public about the cultural resources found on our shores, and their significance to our history and heritage. The students led both informal and formal lecture presentations throughout the month to engage the public. High Definition videos were also created throughout the field school by UNC CSI’s John McCord to attract interest in these shipwrecks.
To read the daily blog of the Field School - Click here.
>>Program in Maritime Studies Video Clip
>>Shipwreck Mapping and Surveying Video Clip
>>Surveying the Oriental Video Clip
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