Heritage and Hurricanes

Submerged NC: Heritage in the Eye of the Storm - A Systematic Effort to Document Cultural Resources Damaged & Threatened by Hurricanes


This webinar was recorded. 

Watch it here!


Presenters: Dr. Mary Beth Fitts, Assistant State Archaeologist, NC Office of State Archaeology
Allyson Ropp, Historic Preservation Archaeology Specialist, NC Office of State Archaeology

The hurricanes of 2018 devastated coastal North Carolina. Not only did they cause significant damage to property and infrastructure, Florence and Michael also impacted coastal cultural resources, including archaeological sites and cemeteries. In response to these storms, the National Park Service is providing emergency supplemental funds to support preservation efforts, including surveys to assist in planning for future storms. The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology (OSA) received funding for two projects that will document and assess cultural resources in the coastal counties of North Carolina.

Join OSA archaeologists Mary Beth Fitts and Allyson Ropp to see how OSA’s Shorescape and Coastal Historic Cemetery Survey Projects have been designed to document important places in counties impacted by Hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018. Unlike most surveys of coastal resources, these projects are adopting a holistic approach to the archaeology of maritime lifeways by simultaneously investigating resources on the shoreline, within the littoral zone, and submerged in adjacent waterways. This approach will not only provide a baseline for understanding differential climate change and storm effects on dry and waterlogged sites; it will broaden our understandings of coastal communities’ political economies and experiential realms. In addition to identifying the context and goals of these projects, this talk will discuss the prioritization models OSA is using to implement these surveys, which have been designed to identify at-risk sites associated with North Carolina’s maritime industries and African American communities, and the role of these efforts to build upon the Office of State Archaeology’s Sea Level Rise Project.