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Posts Tagged ‘East Carolina University’

Sec. Kluttz speaks at the QAR lab anniversary

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but it turns out that it takes a village to raise a 300-year-old shipwreck from the depths of the ocean too!

In late April, Cultural Resources Secretary Susan Kluttz and several other members of the DCR team joined with colleagues and friends from East Carolina University to celebrate 10 years of partnership between the department and the university in running and managing the Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR) Lab.

Sec. Kluttz, Deputy Sec. Kevin Cherry and Chief Deputy
Sec. Karin Cochran talk with ECU Honors College Fellow Dr. Tim Runyan, who was previously director of ECU’s Maritime Studies Program and ECU Vice Chancellor Research & Graduate Studies
Dr. Ron Mitchelson, who is also ECU’s incoming provost.

Though the staff at the lab work for DCR’s Office of State Archaeology, the lab itself is part of East Carolina’s West Research Campus. Dozens of ECU graduate students have gained experience working at preserving the treasures in the lab and in the field as part of this exciting project. During the celebration, the Secretary had the chance to meet and personally thank several members of the QAR team for all that they do to make this recovery and preservation operation a huge success.

ECU isn’t DCR’s only partner in the project either. The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, Intersal, Inc.  and Nautilus Productions are just a few of the agencies and companies that provide technical and logistical support to the archaeologists who work in the field.

Photos of the memorable celebration are available online. You can also learn more about the QAR project, and even signup for a behind-the-scenes tour of the lab, on the QAR project’s website.

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­The Tank TeamOn what seemed like the wettest Saturday morning this year, Queen Anne’s Revenge Lab staff, East Carolina University (ECU) faculty and ECU Honors College Students met at the QAR Lab. Despite the cold and the rain all did excellent work!  We were really impressed with how everyone got stuck in with enthusiasm and efficiency whatever the task!  Two of the students were asked to be “journalists’ for the event. Below is their report on the mornings work with photos they took too. The QAR Lab staff would like to thank you all again!

Rainy Days, Spiders, and Anchors, Oh My!
By Sarah Burke and Megan Woodlief

Wet weather and chilly temperatures did little to stop a group of East Carolina University (ECU) Honors College students from participating in a service project at the QAR Lab on Saturday, February 23rd. The twenty five students split into groups after a brief tour of the facilities and assigned tasks that ranged from assisting in the preservation of artifacts to helping keep archived information organized.

The Archives TeamJackie Traish, a Music Performance and Science Education major, said she’d volunteered to come out because of her appreciation for history. “I came out to help because I wanted to be close to a piece of history. It’s amazing to see artifacts that have lasted 300 years.” Jackie was one of six students who spent their time in the lab’s warehouse working to maintain the conditions of the artifacts. Dubbing themselves the “Tank Team,” the students working in the warehouse removed and added freshwater to storage tanks, as well as returned crusted sodium bicarbonate back into full tanks. “The sodium bicarbonate helps maintain the chemistry of the water,” said Nursing major Sam Roebuck.  “It is important to keep things stable.”

Another group of students were assigned to research and received an impromptu physics lesson from Professor Kenney to aid them in the work. “We basically have to figure the best way to insulate the tank [shipping container] is,” said Applied Atmospheric Sciences major, Thomas Vaughan. “The insulation will ensure that artifacts are not exposed to extreme water temps as the weather changes throughout the year.”

Insulation Research on Honors College Day The services done by other students did not relate directly to artifact preservation, but were equally important. Biology major Adrian Modzik was assigned to the cleaning crew and helped vacuum parts of the lab. “My main job was to get rid of the spiders. There’s a BIG spider problem here.”

Martha Ervin’s group didn’t have to deal with the weather or creepy-crawlies – they were warm and dry in the office filing papers. “We actually went through all the files and switched from metal to plastic paper clips so that artifact documentation was not corroded,” said Martha, a Middle Grades Education major.

Despite the miserable weather, every student enjoyed their time spent at the QAR Lab. “We had a great time, and I hope to possibly come back and volunteer in the future,” said Hospitality Management major Megan Woodlief.

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This post is by Sarah Watkins-Kenney, QAR Lab Director and the Underwater Archaeology Branch’s Chief Conservator.

The N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Queen Anne’s Revenge Conservation Laboratory (QAR Lab) is primarily tasked with the examination, conservation, documentation, and study of artifacts recovered from the shipwreck NCDCR314; Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR), flagship of the pirate Blackbeard, which sank in 1718. The QAR Lab has been located at East Carolina University (ECU) since 2003.  Established under a Memorandum of Agreement between NCDCR and ECU its operation is a partnership to “…promote their mutual goals of archaeological and historical research on this important site and the era in North Carolina and world history that it represents.” ECU provides facility services, student graduate assistants, and consultation with faculty, while NCDCR is responsible for management of the shipwreck site and direction of the QAR Lab. There is also close collaboration with the N.C. Maritime Museum (NCMM) in Beaufort, which, as the final repository for treated artifacts, is responsible for their long-term care and interpretation to the public.

ECU’s West Research Campus (ECU-WRC) is an excellent location for the QAR Lab with good ground level access to buildings for large vehicles and artifacts and space with the potential for development and expansion of conservation as well as research and education activities. The QAR Lab includes: a wet/dirty small objects lab; clean-work lab; larger wet/dirty lab; photographic studio; x-radiography system; office and documentation room. Also, one of the large warehouses on the site is equipped for the storage and treatment of large objects (cannon, ships timbers) and electrolytic reduction treatment of metal finds.

QAR artifact related operations range from in-situ monitoring and preservation, to recovery (including inventory, field storage and transportation of artifacts), and conservation (stable storage, examination and analysis, cleaning, stabilization, data management, and study of artifacts), through to transfer to the North Carolina Maritime Museums  repository and display.  The Lab is staffed by three permanent NCDCR staff:  QAR Lab Director/Chief Conservator; QAR Conservator/Lab Manager; and QAR Conservator. In addition, depending on annual budgets there are one to three temporary conservation positions, as well as two to six graduate assistants, and volunteers.

As a working conservation lab linked to a major on-going archaeological project, the QAR Lab provides a unique resource for artifact studies as well as for research opportunities and education in conserving artifacts from a marine environment for students and researchers at ECU and for a wider community of archaeologists, museum staff, and other professionals.  Work undertaken by the lab is guided by professional codes of practice as defined by the American Institute for Conservation. The QAR Lab disseminates information on work done through publications and presentations at seminars and conferences and the project’s website.

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