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Posts Tagged ‘shipwrecks’

Bennett Place in Durham will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Civil War all weekend long!

An exploration of the major surrenders of the Civil War in Durham, a behind-the-scenes look at the State Capitol in Raleigh and the chance to see how treasures from Blackbeard’s flagship are conserved in Greenville are just a few of the opportunities for fun you’ll find this weekend with the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

Thursday, staff from the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh will read kids a tall tale after taking a short tour of one of the museum’s galleries, while the James K. Polk Historic Site in Pineville will be filled with the sights and sounds of early 19th century cooking.

Workshops, spins on the turntable and train rides will be just a few of the offerings Friday, when the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer is transformed into a classroom for home school students. In the evening, the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh will screen the postwar thriller The Stranger.

Saturday promises fun across the state. In Raleigh, the State Capitol will offer a rare chance to explore the attic and other hidden parts of the building during special discovery tours, while Durham‘s Duke Homestead will invite visitors to discover the history in all of our old stuff at a community yard sale. In Greenville, the Queen Anne’s Revenge lab will hold an open house where visitors can see first-hand how artifacts recovered from Blackbeard’s flagship are conserved. The N.C. Museum of Art will host special family tours of the Estampas de la raza exhibition combined with the chance to make a self-portrait print in the morning, and in the evening, it will put on an awesome event complete with films, art activities and music all produced and planned by teens for teens.

All day in Elizabeth City live music, environmentally-friendly games and activities, crafts and more are on tap for an Earth Day Festival, hosted in part by the Museum of the Albemarle. In the evening, Durham‘s Bennett Place will host a grand ball complete with Civil War costumes and museum to raise funds for its new museum gallery.

The weekend wraps up Sunday with an opportunity to learn about the myth and reality of Civil War medicine at the Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville.

Throughout the weekend, Bennett Place will come alive with the sights and sounds of the Civil War as military and civilian interpreters demonstrate what life was look during that time. The N.C. Symphony will play concerts of Beethoven’s famed Piano Concerto No. 2 in Raleigh and Chapel Hill.

This weekend is your last chance to see the N.C. Arts Council Artist Fellowship Award Exhibition at the Contemporary Art Museum (CAM) in Raleigh.

Check out our calendar for more on these and other events, and a enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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Join the N.C. Transportation Museum Friday and Saturday for special train rides with the Easter Bunny, an Easter egg hunt and more.

An Earth Day celebration in Beaufort, train rides with the Easter Bunny in Spencer and the chance to see cannon balls from Blackbeard’s flagship in Fremont are just a few of the opportunities for fun you’ll find this weekend at the historic sites and museums of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

The weekend kicks off Thursday, when the N.C. Museum of Art in Raleigh hosts preschoolers and parents for an exploration of the changing of the seasons in art with a tour and interactive craft. Across town, staff from the N.C. Museum of History read kids a tall tale after taking a short tour of one of the museum’s galleries.
Friday, take your kids out for an Easter egg hunt against the backdrop of Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington and once you’ve found some treats, climb aboard the deck of ship for a day of family fun. In the evening, the N.C. Museum of Art will screen the suspenseful World War II drama Went the Day Well?.
Cannon balls, gold dust and other treasures from the wreck of Blackbeard’s flagship, hidden beneath the sea for nearly 300 years, will go on display at Aycock Birthplace in Fremont Saturday. On the coast, the N.C. Maritime Museum in Southport will host a bike ride highlighting the history of its hometown, while the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort will offer you the chance to get up and personal with rescued wildlife, make coastal crafts and more as part of the Crystal Coast Earth Day Celebration.
Both Friday and Saturday, the Easter Bunny Express will roll into the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer, giving your family the chance to take a special ride with Easter Bunny, play mini golf on a Thomas the Tank Engine themed course, marvel at some fantastic model train setups, participate in crafts and, on Saturday only, enjoy a fun Easter egg hunt.

Keep in mind that most of our historic sites and museums are closed Friday and Sunday in observance of state holidays. Call ahead before you visit, and enjoy a great North Carolina weekend!

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From new revelations on the fate of the Lost Colony to BuzzFeed’s best jokes for history nerds, we’ve shared some pretty cool stories with you through our social media this year (if we don’t say so ourselves!).

Top StoriesAs 2014 heats up, we took a look back at what you liked the most. Here are the 13 stories from 2013 that you liked best (in order):

  1. 21 Jokes Only History Nerds Will Understand  from BuzzFeed
  2. An overview of a Blackbeard’s demise from our This Day in North Carolina History blog
  3. Pictures of some interesting artifacts found at the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck on National Geographic’s website
  4. The most famous book from every state, according to Business Insider
  5. An update on what may have happened to the Lost Colony from a newspaper in the United Kingdom
  6. More photos from the Queen Anne’s Revenge – these on our Flickr of a cannon recovery in August
  7. The story of  a mysterious shipwreck on a Pender County beach
  8. An NPR story on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Asheville connections
  9. The story of serial prison escape Otto Woods on our This Day in N.C. History blog
  10. A blurb on the The Land of Oz theme park in Beech Mountain
  11. The First 10 Works of Fiction You Should Read If You’ve Never Read a Book Before, according to Flavorwire
  12. 38 Signs You’re From North Carolina, at least according to Buzzfeed
  13. A story on the similarities between Downton Abbey and Biltmore Estate from WUNC

Thanks for continuing to follow us! We can’t say enough how much we appreciate it, and how much we enjoy sharing the story of our state’s culture with you.

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Raising a cask hoop concretion

Raising a cask hoop concretion

After the weekend, we returned to site with the focus of separating the individual elements that make up the pile. A large anchor, A2, lies atop 8 cannon. With such a large concentration of iron, the cannon and anchor have concreted together to form one massive concretion – too large to recover all together. To recover artifacts from the pile we need to separate them. We began this work this week. We first tried using an old fashioned hammer and chisel, but it quickly became apparent that the immense concretion was too thick to attack with man-power alone.  A pneumatic chisel attached to an air compressor on the deck of R/V Jones Bay proved to speed up the process, and we made some headway.  The pneumatic chisel has made it much easier to map and remove cannon balls and ballast stones as we come upon them lodged deep within the concretion.

A beautiful day with calm, glassy waters

A beautiful day with calm, glassy waters

We also managed to raise two large cask hoop concretions and another concretion of unidentified artifacts, along with an assortment of small objects and get them all transported back to the lab.  Another very productive week for the team, considering we only worked three days because of Labor Day and one bad weather day!  The seas flattened out entirely on Thursday, and by Friday, the visibility climbed to 15 feet. All the divers marveled at the rare opportunity to be able to see the entire wreck site upon descent.

Our team grew this week with the addition of ECU graduate student Nicole Wittig. We are excited to have her on board for the remainder of the fall season!

Week 5 was September 3-6.

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By Kimberly Kenyon, QAR Conservator 

Some of the highlights from the second part of August include the discovery of a previously-unknown cannon under a large concretion and the raising and transport of several large concretions. Here’s an overview:

Week 3: August 19-23

Recovering the deadeye strop concretion

Recovering the deadeye strop concretion.

Divers surfaced on Monday with the exciting news of a previously unknown cannon lying within the immense concretion that makes up the pile. This new cannon, which is estimated to be a two-pounder based on its size, brings the cannon grand total to 28! This cannon is also the eigth located in this particular pile. Our numbers seem to be edging closer and closer to the 40 cannon purportedly on the QAR at the time of grounding. Will we find all 40? We certainly hope so!

U.S. Coast Guard crane operators removing the sounding weight concretion from Jones Bay

U.S. Coast Guard crane operators removing the sounding weight concretion from Jones Bay.

Tuesday, we were able to raise two large concretions using the davit (think of a small crane, like one used to raise and lower lifeboats off the sides of ships). One contained two lead sounding weights and a deadeye strop;  the other  had two massive deadeye strops. It’s always exciting to find pieces of the ship’s rigging!

Wednesday, we moved the dredges to units 244, 245, 247 and 248, where cannon C-26 and C-27 were found. After removing the sandbags and overburden, the smaller dredges were employed so that sediment could then be collected in the sluices on deck.  Unfortunately, the winds turned again, so we spent Thursday and Friday on shore. At least it allowed time for Kim, Jeremy, and Greg to count and weigh all the ballast stones raised so far and put them in storage. It cleared up some much needed space on the dock at Fort Macon.

Heavy concretion with 2 large lead sounding weights visible (bottom)

Heavy concretion with 2 large lead sounding
weights visible (bottom).

The visibility has been improving, and with all this close-up time with the pile, we have been spotting a certain curious octopus lurking. Julep has even gotten some video of him. Unfortunately, he is going to have to be evicted from his home on the pile so we can get to work!

Greg (left) and BJ (right) lowering the dredge to the seabed.

Greg (left) and BJ (right) lowering the dredge to the seabed.

Week 4: August 26-30

Brick fragment.

Brick fragment.

Various small finds are finally coming to light during the fourth week of work on site. Greg identified a brick fragment just underneath cannon C-7 in unit 246, and he also very carefully lifted and recovered a fragment o12f pine sacrificial hull planking in unit 270!  We hope this is a good indicator of what may still be buried in nearby units.

Fragment of pine sacrificial planking.

Fragment of pine sacrificial planking.

We have been lucky this week in observing a number of local wildlife species. Kim spotted a sting ray just west of anchor A2, Julep managed to get some more video footage of the octopus still lurking around the pile, Danny was very excited by a dolphin escort one morning while we were headed out, and flounder are beginning to appear around the site.

Morning dolphin escort.

Morning dolphin escort.

Finally, a large batch of artifacts raised over the course of the previous three weeks was delivered to the QAR lab in Greenville on Friday.  Since so many of the concretions were oversized and too heavy for us to physically load them onto our trailer, we made use once again of the U.S. Coast Guard’s team of crane operators to assist us. Two cask hoop concretions, the lead sounding weight concretion, a deadeye strop concretion and a nail concretion were all loaded quickly and efficiently, and all the boxes of smaller finds were loaded up and transported to the lab.

We lost Greg and Jeremy with the end of the week – they were a tremendous help on site and will be sorely missed!

Nail concretion shortly after recovery.

Nail concretion shortly after recovery.

Stay tuned! We’ll be bringing you updates from September’s field work soon.

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Interns (left to right) Jeremy, Jeneva, and Greg

Interns (left to right) Jeremy, Jeneva, and Greg

The opening of a field season is always busy, and this year proved to be no exception. In our first two weeks of work, the team focused mostly on setup, laying out gridlines and placing sandbags around the perimeter of new excavation units. We recovered some artifacts, too. Here’s a brief overview:

Danny preparing to drill

Danny preparing to drill

Week 1: August 5-9

The opening week of the 2013 field season saw the team gathering supplies and readying R/V Jones Bay for diving. Once divers were in the water, they started laying gridlines over the pile and labeling new units nearby (246, 255-271).  The grid system not only aids the archaeologists in meticulously mapping in each artifact on the site plan, but the numbered squares also help divers to figure out where they are on those particularly low-visibility days.  Another new feature for this season is a set of white buoys attached to the ring of Anchor 2 (A2).  It’s yet another assurance of relative location when you descend into the murky water.  It’s nice to know where you are!

Kim (left) and Shanna (right) feeding cables to Danny and BJ on the bottom in order to take pH and corrosion potential readings

Kim (left) and Shanna (right) feeding cables to Danny and BJ on the bottom in order to take pH and corrosion potential readings

Billy Ray, Chris, Nathan and Julep all came up from Fort Fisher and were joined by Dave from Maritime Museum and Shanna from the QAR lab. Our four technicians, Laurel, Danny, B.J. and Matt were aided in their work by interns Greg, Jeremy and Jeneva. Although the weather was a bit overcast, the team managed to get four diving days on site and accomplished much!

Week 2: August 12-16

Greg (left) and Matt (right) recovering cannon C-26

Greg (left) and Matt (right) recovering cannon C-26

The team ushered in the second week by placing sandbags around the perimeter of new excavation units we intend to excavate in 2013.  Also, as part of an ongoing corrosion study, Danny and BJ located the artifacts anchor A2, cannon C-6, C-7, and C-8, which had all been outfitted with sacrificial zinc anodes.  They drilled through the concretion to expose bare metal, and using an electrode, they measured each artifact’s pH and corrosion potential, the figures for which will hopefully reflect that the anodes are performing as they should be in slowing down active corrosion.  The electrodes’ cables were connected to meters being monitored by conservators, Shanna and I, on the deck of the Jones Bay.

Even though we lost two days to bad weather, I used that time to my advantage, instructing a couple of our fearless interns. Jeremy and Jeneva, on how to process dredge spoil and seek out the small artifacts that are commonly found hiding in the sediment. Upon returning to site on Thursday, divers began removing ballast stones concreted to the pile, with the hopes that we can understand how to go about separating the large artifacts from each other. On Friday, we raised two cannon, C-26 and C-27, both two-pounders which had only been located in the previous field season. They were delivered to the lab and are currently keeping each other company in the same tank. We also had to say our goodbyes to one of our interns, Jeneva.  She was such a great part of the team, and we will all miss her!

Cannon C-26 and C-27 loaded onto the trailer and ready to be delivered to the QAR lab

Cannon C-26 and C-27 loaded onto the trailer and ready to be
delivered to the QAR lab

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By Kimberly Kenyon, QAR Conservator 

The QAR site plan for the fall 2013 season. Click on the image to see a larger version of it.

Fall 2013 site plan for the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck with new
excavation units shown in green. Click on the image to see a larger
version of it.

The 2013 Queen Anne’s Revenge (QAR) fall field season is underway, and has been for several weeks now! We’ve been bad about giving you updates, but that stops now.

Before we get to what’s been going on at the site, some introductions. Beginning August 5, a team of archaeologists and conservators from the Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources (NCDCR) is conducting a three-month long excavation of Blackbeard’s flagship near Beaufort, North Carolina, with the help of graduate students from East Carolina University (ECU).  Two cannon were recovered from the site in June, and we are hopeful that there will be even more cannon in store for the fall!

Billy Ray Morris, Director of UAB, is overseeing the excavation, along with UAB Archaeologists Nathan Henry and Chris Southerly.  Captain and Dive Safety Officer Julep Gillman-Bryan is not only captaining R/V Jones Bay, our dive platform for this season, but is also making certain that divers follow proper safety procedures.  Dave Moore, Curator of Nautical Archaeology for the N.C. Maritime Museum at Beaufort (and authority in all things Blackbeard) is expertly mapping the site and lending us his knowledge of 18th century ship construction.

Conservators Shanna Daniel and Kimberly Kenyon from the QAR Conservation Lab at ECU are also on-hand to ensure the safety and handling of each object during excavation, recovery, and transport to the lab.  Current ECU graduate students Laurel Seaborn, B.J. Howard, and Danny Bera, and ECU graduate Matt Thompson are serving as archaeological technicians and aiding in recovery efforts. Interns Greg Stratton, Jeremy Borelli, Jeneva Wright and Nicole Wittig, all current ECU graduate students, are on site to support operations.

The main goal for this season is to address the massive concretion marking the midships area of the wreck site. “The Pile,” as this landmark is colloquially named, is made up of a large anchor lying atop seven cannon. The immense amount of iron concentrated in this area has provided a host of nutrients for sea life, which in turn has supplemented the amount of encrustation surrounding the artifacts, essentially turning eight separate iron objects into one giant mass.  Excavation of the pile will require hammers and chisels used with the utmost care. It will be tedious and time-consuming, and will hopefully provide an array of objects trapped within the concretion. Additionally, new excavation units will be opened around the pile as well as north of it as work continues toward the bow of the ship.

We are always most hopeful to find the actual wooden structure of the hull of the ship beneath what we can now see, and with work continuing around the pile, it is very promising that hull remains may have been protected by the cannon lying on top. This season is focusing on recovering some of those cannon as they become chiseled free, as well as any potential hull remains.  Hopefully, we will also have an opportunity to raise two cannon and two large cask hoop concretions, which the un-cooperative June weather prevented us from collecting.

During the next couple of weeks, we’ll bring you a few recaps of all the action from the field this season. After we get all caught up, we’ll try and bring you a fresh update every two weeks or so through the end of this fall’s dive. Stay tuned!

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