Franklin Haines Price
CONFLICT AND COMMERCE: MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE DISTRIBUTION AS CULTURAL CHANGE ON THE ROANOKE RIVER, NORTH CAROLINA.
(Under the direction of Professor Nathan Richards) Department of History, January 2006.
For centuries the transportation provided by the Roanoke River, North Carolina, has played a vital role in the economic and military history of the area. The importance of the waterway as a military consideration was glaringly illustrated during the Civil War, when bother the Union and the Confederacy strove to control the river. The conflict inflicted grievous harm upon the region's maritime transportation. Taken as a whole, the shipwrecks and abandoned vessels of the river provide an exceptional vantage point regarding questions of technology and economy, both in times of peace and when these tranquil periods are juxtaposed against warfare and upheaval.
This thesis uses statistical and geo-spatial analyses of the shipwrecks and abandoned vessels of the Roanoke in an attempt to recognize anthropological patterns. Historical and archaeological data are investigated. Three major themes, manner of loss, trade, and technology, are explored primarily to interpret how cultural change is reflected in the assemblage of shipwrecked and abandoned vessels of the waterway. The trends that emerge are often interwoven among the above themes, and through them this thesis attempts to explain such diverse phenomena as shifting trade patterns, wreck clustering, vessel dimensions, and the dichotomy of behavior between times of war and times of peace.