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Monday, March 19, 2012

Modern Greece Shipwreck Fun

Me in my "action gear" lol
Ah, what a bright and cheery day to be crawling in the muck!  We twelve students from ECU's archaeological conservation class got some real experience... hands on for thousands of artifacts for the civil war blockade runner Modern Greece.  There's more.  You see... not only did we encounter artifacts from the Modern Greece, excavated in the 1960s and re-interred in these watery graves on the grounds of Fort Fisher and the Underwater Archaeology Branch's facilities in Kure Beach.  There were also artifacts from the Ella and the Ranger popping out of the first tank that we worked on the first day (March 5).  Each item that came out of the tank, Nathan, Chris, and/or Mark were there with manifests showing what ship it had belonged to.  

No matter that we got dirty, cold, wet, etc... we had fun putting our hands (er... gloves) on those artifacts and seeing them for the first time in 50 years when they were first re-interred on this site, not far from their original resting place in the sea waters just off the Cape Fear River.  

You see the pants that I'm wearing in the photo?  This pic is from Day 2, after the first washing.  Needless to say, I won't be going out on the town in these jeans anytime soon.  May I introduce you to the black, muddy pit that we worked on the second day?  Look below:

Tank drained and awaiting us...

     Yes, this was nasty.  See?  Archaeological conservation is really fun!  You get to play in the mud and get credit for it, too.  And, apparently, we drew some attention on this project.  The Raleigh News and Observer came out, Channel 14 and the Charlotte Observer did a video on us, TV3 in Wilmington came out, the News-Record in Greensboro carried it, and our new friend, Brian Nestor filmed the entire process for a 5-minute video produced by the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources.

Brian's second video from NC-DCR:

Amazing how old stuff can be such popular news, huh?

There were British Enfield Rifles, Bowie knives, leg irons, bayonets and other war materials, but we also found household and farm items such as files, chisels, scissors, knives, forks, spoons, hoe heads, picks and much more.  It was a tremendous haul!