John "Billy Ray" MorrisDeputy State Archaeologist - Underwater

A nautical archaeologist with more than 28 years of field experience, and degrees from the University of North Carolina-Wilmington and East Carolina University, John has directed numerous projects both in the United States and abroad.

These projects have included the recordation of the Confederate raider CSS Alabama off the coast of France, the complete documentation and recovery of a 16th century Spanish messenger vessel in Bermuda, and the decade long excavation of Betsey, an 18th century British transport lost at Yorktown, Virginia during the final battle of the American Revolution.

John also directed the first maritime archaeological research project conducted in St. Augustine, Fla. This project lead directly to John creating and directing the first independent institutional archaeological research program established in Florida. Several of these projects have been made into television documentaries and have also been featured in such publications asNational Geographic and American Archaeology.

Morris has conducted projects for state and federal civilian agencies, as well as the United States Navy. He has also worked for several museums and research institutions in this country and overseas. His specialty is the evolution of ship construction and the interpretation of vessel loss sites. He was the creator and Director of South Eastern Archaeological Services, Inc., a marine archaeological consulting firm.

910.251.7325  |  john.morris@ncdcr.gov