shipwreck in Corolla will travel down the
highway to Hatteras Museum on July 1
lying hidden under sand and water for centuries, a recently discovered
and very historically important North Carolina shipwreck will soon be
on the move again, heading south via Highway 12 from Corolla to the
Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.
The museum announced that plans have been set to move the 12-ton wooden
structure on Monday, July 19, beginning around 10 p.m.
According to Claire Aubel, public relations coordinator for the North
Carolina Maritime Museums, the 90-mile trip is expected to take five to
shipwreck is being moved from its current location near the Currituck
Beach Lighthouse to the highway by Barnhill Contracting. It will be
moved from Corolla to Hatteras village on a flatbed truck with drivers
being provided by the National Park Service.
On the four-lane U.S. 158 through the northern beaches, vehicles will
be able to pass around the shipwreck. However on two-lane portions of
the highway in Currituck County and on Hatteras Island, including the
trip over the Bonner Bridge, the highway will be closed at times by law
enforcement officials for the move.
Dare County Sheriff Rodney Midgett urges drivers on Highway 12 after 10
p.m. to be cautious. As the truck makes it way down the
motorists may be directed to get off onto the shoulder so it can
pass. In a few places, the highway will be temporarily shut
( For information or questions concerning the move and traffic on
Highway 12, contact the Dare County non-emergency line, 252-473-3444.)
“This is quite possibly the oldest shipwreck to be discovered in North
Carolina,” said North Carolina Maritime Museums Director Joseph
Schwarzer. “Saving this crucial piece of national history has taken a
massive amount of effort. We appreciate the collaboration and the
support of the public as we make this move.”
The 17-foot-wide by 37-foot-long wreckage was exposed by winds and
tides in late 2008. In April, archaeologists and volunteers were able
move the frame onto higher ground so it wouldn’t be washed
Once they got a closer look at the structure, and talked to the local
residents that found the site, they realized it could the most
noteworthy beach-find to date in the state.
“We met some people who had been looking at this wreck, relic
collectors or beachcombers, who showed us artifacts they
the vicinity, some in very close association with the shipwreck, that
date back to the mid-1600s,” deputy state archaeologist
Lawrence said. “There are coins from the reign of Louis XIII in France
and Charles I in England, lead bale seals, and spoons that all date
back to that period. So we realized that this is a very significant
Ten solid oak frames, 18-inch wide oak planks and the nearly sole usage
of wooden pegs as fasteners give the picture of what may be a mid-1600s
To date, the oldest shipwreck discovered along the state’s coast is the
flagship of Blackbeard the pirate, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, which sank
in 1718. This wreck was located in November, 1996 by Intersal, Inc.,
with information provided to operations director Mike Daniel and by
company president, the late Phil Masters.
Many people have partnered with Cultural Resources archaeologists and
Maritime Museum system professionals to save the rare piece of national
maritime history, including Meghan Agresto of the Outer Banks
Conservationists, Inc.; Jim Trogdon, Sterling Baker, and Tammy Denning
of the North Carolina Department of Transportation; state Sen. Marc Basnight,
D-Dare; department secretary Linda Carlisle; Mark Cooney of
Carolina Division of Cultural Resources Construction Office; Tony
Pearce of Barnhill Contracting Company, and Doug Stover and Doug
Blackman with the National Park Service.
Additional agencies and groups include Currituck County Commissioners,
Corolla Fire and Rescue, Currituck County Sheriff’s Office, Dare County
Sheriff’s Office, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
Office of State Archaeology, North Carolina Wildlife Resources
Commission, and the Friends of the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum.
The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum plans to put the shipwreck on
exhibit as soon as possible, so the public can watch and learn as
archaeologists continue their analysis. With luck, they’ll be able to
pinpoint a more exact date and possibly identify the ship.
“For anyone interested in history, in shipwrecks or the maritime
mysteries of the area, this is an absolute must-see artifact,” said
Schwarzer. “It is unique, it is of enormous importance, and it could
easily become a central point of destination for maritime and the
broader cultural traveler.”
North Carolina’s Outer Banks are no stranger to shipwrecks, with
thousands scattered along the coast. But, it is rare to find the
remains of older, wooden vessels still intact in the dynamic ocean and
And this will be the first actual shipwreck located at the museum,
which displays many artifacts from the Graveyard of the Atlantic.
For more information on the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum
visit www.graveyardoftheatlantic.com or call 252-986-2995.
hours are Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and admission is free.
Also see a story on the museum, its exhibits, and its schedule of
programs on Island Free Press at http://islandfreepress.org/2010Archives/06.11.2010-ShipwreckMuseumHasSomeNewExhibitsAndPrograms.html