Summer Field School 2000
The 2000 Field School in Maritime History and Underwater Research is being held in the Pamlico River off Washington, NC. Here lie the remains of up to forty wrecks surrounding Castle Island. Nine of these wrecks were previously documented by ECU. The recent damage caused by the devastating flooding after Hurricane Floyd led principal investigator Bradley A. Rodgers, Ph.D. to choose this site. It was feared that much of the wreckage might be significantly changed since last fall. The purpose of this year's project is to investigate the known wrecks at Castle Island and determine what, if any, changes have occurred. This offers an excellent opportunity for the current field school students to see how dynamic the underwater environment can be.
Castle Island has been the scene of numerous and varied activities during the past two hundred years. The island was first used as a shipyard and sawmill. Lime was manufactured from oyster shell on the island in the 1800s. This industry is evident underwater with the wreck of at least two oyster barges. During the Civil War Washington became the target for Union gunboats operating in the Pamlico. One can still see cannon balls fired from these gunboats in the house fronts across from Castle Island. Castle Island's most infamous use was as a bordello during the 20th century. Located in the center of the river it was exempt from state and local laws banning such activity. Today Castle Island is abandoned and serves as a resting place for turtles and birds.
The first two weeks of the field school are used to complete scientific diver training. While the staff finalized logistical information, the students prepared for the site environment by going through open water zero visibility training and honing their diving skills. The Pamlico River is a challenging dive site with numerous submerged trees and sunken pier structures. Week three involves setting up the site and determining what course of action to take. During week four we will map one of the wrecks. The final week will be spent mapping and remote sensing using the Maritime Program's new side scan sonar. Detailed information from the field is located on linked pages.
Week Three Highlights
Week Four Highlights
Week Five Highlights
Students in the summer field school are usually all enrolled as MA students in the Maritime Studies Program. A new addition this year is the inclusion of one Ph.D. student from the nascent Coastal Resources Management Program. All nine students are scientific divers with zero visibility training, a necessity in this brown water environment. There are also three crew chiefs in addition to Professor Rodgers as principal investigator.
Bradley A. Rodgers, Ph.D., principal investigator
Russell Green, MA candidate, crew chief
Michael Hughes, MA candidate, crew chief
Matthew Lawrence, MA candidate, crew chief