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Coastal Shipwrecks & Artifacts

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Coastal Shipwrecks & Artifacts
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Outer Banks, North Carolina
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Shipwreck Row

     The Eastern Coast of the United States is known for its shipwrecks, and perhaps the most famous section is that between New York City and the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Over the years, countless ships have grounded or sunk along these waters. Throughout the years, I have ventured to the coast to photograph famous wrecks as well as to hunt for artifacts which wash up after storms. The following photos are some of the places I have been and things I have found. The above photo was taken south of Oregon Inlet in the Outer Banks of a large piece of shipwreck wood with the original spikes measuring roughly a foot in length. Below is a close-up of that same piece of wood.

Spike from the above piece of timber.
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Wreck of the Pocahontas
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Believed to be a Civil War Union transport ship.

Wreck of the Oriental.
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Her boiler still stands out of the water from 1862.

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Enigma machine recovered from the wreck of the U85
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Located at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at the tip of Hatteras Island.

Wreck of the Schooner Laura A. Barnes - 1921
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Located at Coquina Beach, North Carolina.

A closer view of the Barnes' wooden beams.
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Wreck of the Frances E. Waters - 1889
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Nags Head Town Hall Parking Lot

If you are interested in these wrecks, their full description and details - including GPS coordinates can be viewed at:

USS Huron
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- Perhaps the Outer Banks' most famous shipwreck is that of the USS Huron (pictured above). Wrecked on the night of November 24, 1877, she only lies 250 yards off the shoreline and it is easily accessable for snorkelers and divers to visit. On a clear day, you can see her from the surface, as she lies in only 20 feet of water. To learn more, visit www.archaelogy.ncdcr.gov/ncarch/underwater/huron.htm

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     Below are several of the items that have washed up on beaches all over the east coast which I came across. It is always amusing to see those 'treasure' hunters on the beaches during and after a storm, but sometimes it can pay off - even if the seemingly random object makes no sense, it still makes you think....

Encrusted metal objects
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More encrusted metal objects
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The right seems to be wood with a thin strip of metal over it.

 - While most people look for the proverbial "pretty & shiny" things, the objects above are what you want to find. These were found on the beaches and confirmed with a metal detector to be metal. These above objects will soon be taken to a conservation lab where they will be cleaned to hidden the interior object. I found a similar object which looked like one of the pieces in the top picture. When it was cleaned, the end result is photographed below:

17th C. Shoebuckle
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What's left of a buckle which washed up in Virginia and was cleaned in 2006.

Several metal pieces - no encrustation.
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These were all found in a 10x10' area infront of a local shipwreck.

Random metal piece
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What appealed to me was the coin-like appearance of this piece.

1cm x 1cm metal shard
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The smallest pieces interest me, especially since I knew of a shipwreck in the area where this was.

Encrusted shipwreck spike & rusticles.
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The spike has an interesting pinstripe line set on its side as well.

Shipwreck wood pieces.
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Washed up from a storm along with larger pieces that were rather heavy and part buried.

Spike gap close-up
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This piece was recently cleaned.
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This is the before photograph....

... and the after. Coin #1 found within.
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     The top coin pile was cleaned on 11/21/09 revealing 2 coins inside. The first (above) is almost unrecognizable, except for some obvious markings. The coin below is a 1662 Farthing from Yarmouth, Norfolk, England. The obverse side has "Benjamin Barker" on the outside, the trade seal no longer visible in the center. The reverse side has "Of Yarmouth (Yarmovth). The center is 3 initials, first on top would be the surname, over the initials of the wife and husband. The 3rd letter, B, is the only clear visible one. The other two can be seen, but a definite letter is hard to make out. Flower and Star are visible on both sides.

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