The 2002 and 2005 Core Banks Beach Wreck Survey(s)
Including Shackleford Banks & Ocracoke Island
This Project sponsored by
The North Carolina Outer Banks are alive with history.
Though rich with a biological ecosystem unique in all the world and
picturesque landscapes that rival those of the world’s greatest natural
marvels, the Outer Banks have seen historic occurrences that would boggle
the mind. The first European settlers, the birth of a nation, a
devastating Civil War, and two world wars have all left their marks in the
form of cultural deposits and historic sites all up and down the NC coast.
Shipwrecks, abandoned towns and villages, military installations and
forts, fishing camps and houses are just a few of the assets that are in
jeopardy here. Vandalism, looting, storms, hurricanes, and time are just a
few of the enemies that attack these assets everyday; yet, the very banks
themselves are made up of cultural debris. Pieces of shipwrecks, abandoned
cars and trucks, tree trunks washed up from the
Tre'nels (tree-nails) in
Nearly every dune on the banks was formed by this very process and undisturbed the dune will remain covering the rich historic artifacts that created it. But storms cause overwash, plants die and their roots wither away, hurricanes and Nor’easters flood the tidal plain and move centuries of sand away, revealing the cultural time capsule below. Left unrecorded, this time capsule falls prey to the “enemies” mentioned earlier.
Surface Interval Diving Company (SIDCO) is a
nonprofit corporation dedicated to the preservation of historic shipwrecks
and submerged sites for the express purpose of public education and
display. SIDCO was founded in 1996 and has worked very closely with state,
federal and local authorities to protect and preserve
In an attempt to gather the data left at these
sites, SIDCO, in cooperation with the North Carolina Underwater
Archaeology Branch, and the NC Department of Cultural Resources, has
completed a field survey of the exposed sites on the Core Banks, from
Recorded from these sites are measurements, fastener patterns and types, GPS (Global Positioning System) coordinates, photographs, sketches, examination of structure features, and placement of a permanent NCDCR tag to help track the movements of the item due to storms, and also discourage vandalism and looting. This report will document the findings of this survey in spring of 2002, and add to an ongoing record of an overall documentation and attempt to save the data from these non-renewable resources.
On April 27, 2002 , members of SIDCO assembled to
accomplish the field survey of the Southern end of the Core Banks. After
establishing a campsite near Alger Willis Fishing Camps, the team began a
systematic survey of the area. Using ATV’s (All Terrain Vehicles)
specially equipped with modern GPS positioning systems and UHF Two-way
radio communications, the team mapped the entire Southern end of Core
Banks in a two-day time period, locating seven shipwreck structures and
re-examining one. The ATV’s carried two persons, a driver and a spotter.
The driver operated the vehicle in the rough terrain, while the spotter
watched the dunes and beach for wreck debris and maintained radio
operations. Other than a few mechanical problems that were settled early,
the mission was a COMPLETE success.
Officeres and Conservation Team members
Several of the structures showed signs of vandalism and
attempted looting. Two had been set on fire previously, and one still had
a section of polypropylene rope attached that someone had used to attempt
to drag the timber down the beach. There were several old campfire sights
that may have contained remains of shipwreck structure. It is our hope
that the presence of NC Department of Cultural Resources tags will
discourage this kind of destruction.
The NCDCR information discs or "tags" used to mark and identify beach wreck structures. Please be sure NEVER to remove or deface these tags.
PLEASE CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL REPORT [ADOBE ACROBAT FORMAT - 405k]