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"The Lost Colonial Port of Sunbury, Georgia" ...

"The Lost Colonial Port of Sunbury, Georgia"
Christopher P. McCabe, Stephen D. Dilk
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, and East Carolina University

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  • 1. The Lost Colonial Port of Sunbury, Georgia: Preliminary Investigations Detail of a 1774 Coastal Georgia Map Christopher P. McCabe, M.A., RPA and Stephen D. Dilk
  • 2. A Partnership: GCUAFS in Savannah HPD Archaeology Services Unit East Carolina University Georgia Southern University Skidaway Institute of Oceanography
  • 3. Georgia's OCGA Mandates OCGA 12-3-80 et seq. “The state archeologist shall have such duties in conducting and supervising the surveillance, protection, preservation, survey, and recovery of submerged cultural resources… and the exclusive right to regulate the investigating, surveying, and recovery of all such submerged cultural resources...” It is considered illegal for any person to “...intentionally deface, injure, destroy, displace, or remove any underwater cultural resources or portion thereof in any manner not in accordance with a permit issued by the state archaeologist...”
  • 4. Georgia Statewide Shipwreck Inventory (GSSI)  An Ongoing Multi-faceted Research Project - NAHRGIS • an interactive web-based registry and GIS database cataloging information about the natural, archaeological, and historic resources of Georgia. - NHPA Section 106 Projects - GCUAFS & HPD Report Libraries - Private Research & Local Knowledge - Graduate Student Projects R/V Whaler R/V SkIO Explorer
  • 5. GSSI St. Catherine’s Sound Survey • Merchant and Fishing vessels • Civil War-era shipwrecks • Colonial Port of Sunbury, GA Location of Sunbury, Georgia (Georgia State Map Collection &, Georgia Humanities Council; amended). 1865 U.S. Coast Survey of St. Catherine’s Sound
  • 6. Sunbury, GA 1774 Coastal Georgia Map (National Archives Kew, Catalogue#: MPG120) Town Plan of Sunbury (C. C. Jones Jr. 1878 redraft) Detail of recent LIDAR image
  • 7. Maritime Perspectives of Colonial Sunbury • Second largest port-of-entry in colonial Georgia • Raw material exports • Atlantic World trading • Demographic influences (Bermudians, African Slaves, etc.) Large Compass timber at Ft. Morris Historic Site
  • 8. Colonial Port of Sunbury, GA View from Ft. Morris looking east • Shipping records, cargo manifests
  • 9. Broad events leading to the decline of Sunbury • Revolutionary War • Hurricanes • Economic shifts in post-war period • Relative quickness of decline leads to unique archaeological landscape
  • 10. Maritime significance during the Revolutionary War • Base for privateering • Base for preemptive naval strikes against British East Florida (3 failed attempts) • Last American port-of-entry in Georgia after the fall of Savannah
  • 11. Maritime Defense of Sunbury • Active defense to passive defense “Two Rebel Galleys” The Vigilant Man of War, with the Comet Galley, the Keppel Armed Brig, and the Greenwich Armed Sloop, followed by the Transports in Three Divisions, in the Order Example of an Armed Galley established for a Descent, proceeded up the (Howard I. Chapelle, The History of [Savannah] River with the Tide at Noon; about American Sailing Ships. 1935.) Four o'Clock in the Evening the Vigilant opened the Reach to Gerridoe's Plantation, and was cannonaded by Two Rebel Galleys, who retired before any of their Buliets had reached her; a single Shot from the Vigilant quickened their Retreat. Copy of a Letter from Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell to Lord George Germain dated Savannah, January 16, 1779. (The London Gazette). Muster List of Galley Scourge (National Archives, Kew: ADM 3610427)
  • 12. Submerged remains as evidence of struggle • Remote sensing survey initiated to investigate Sunbury’s maritime remains • An effort to better understand the rise and fall of Port Sunbury. • Side-scan sonar and magnetometer surveys initiated in Summer 2009 • 164 submerged targets of interest to date. Side-scan sonar and magnetometer towfish. “Screen grab” of coverage area to date
  • 13. Lamotte’s Wharf (south), Site SI-2 • Lowtide visual search of Sunbury’s north/south waterfront. • Remains of wharf site at Lot 1: suspected Lamotte’s Wharf (south). • Ballast piles and piling remnants suggest two other wharf sites further north, possibly “Darling & Company” and “Lamotte’s Wharf (north)
  • 14. Lamotte’s Wharf (south) SI-2 • 119 wooden piling remnants to date
  • 15. SI-2 Artifacts • Combed Staffordshire slipware (1670-1795) • Utilitarian glazed redware • Refined lead glaze earthenware • British brown saltglazed stoneware • Creamware cup base • Possible French faience • All date to the Sunbury’s active period SI-2 Artifact Sampling Liquor bottle-neck manufactured c. 1755
  • 16. Sunbury Fieldwork 2010 • Continued side-scan and magnetometer surveys & enhanced site monitoring • Groundtruth submerged targets (dive ops) • Search for suspected Quarantine Station • Public Interpretation at Ft. Morris Historic Site Museum
  • 17. Thank You! For further information, please contact Christopher McCabe or Stephen Dilk at the: Georgia Coastal Underwater Archaeology Field Station c/o Skidaway Institute of Oceanography 10 Ocean Science Circle Savannah, GA 31411 (912) 598-3346