Monday, July 17, 2006


Divers find wrecks of several old ships


Star News Online
July 17, 2006

Elizabeth City State underwater archaeologists have found the remains of several boats in the Currituck Sound, including two they believe sank more than 100 years ago.

Divers discovered last week what they believe was the steam freighter Undine, which struck a log and sank off Mackay Island in March 1912 while en route from Norfolk, Va., to Coinjock, said Richard Lawrence, director of the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.

"We feel pretty confident that is what it is," Lawrence said.

Lawrence believes the freighter was carrying passengers when it sank.

His team discovered the bottom section of the Undine, measuring about 93 feet from bow to stern, he said.

Part of the boat was still intact.

The engine and other parts of the boat appeared to have been salvaged years ago, perhaps by the ship's crew, he said.

Divers last week also discovered wooden planks and other debris from a 25-foot wooden sailing vessel in about 6 feet of water near Monkey Island. Lawrence said it dates back to the 1800s, possibly before the Civil War.

However, the Underwater Archaeology Branch, which tracks the state's shipwrecks, has no records of a ship sinking in the vicinity of Monkey Island, he said.

Divers also found the remains of what was believed to have been a schooner in a body of water known as Little Narrows.

"The local story was it was a schooner that was sunk during the Civil War to try to block the channel," he said.

Information from the shipwrecks will be recorded at the Underwater Archaeology Branch's headquarters at Fort Fisher.


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