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State underwater archaeologist Spirek gives lecture at CCU

August 31, 2012

James D. (Jim) Spirek, South Carolina's state underwater archaeologist, will share his experience of exploring the nation's rivers and oceans for historic shipwrecks at a Sept. 11 lecture at Coastal Carolina University. The 5:30 p.m. talk is free and open to the public.

Spirek has worked on some of the most important underwater archaeological projects in the United States during his career, which has included searching for Spanish and French galleons in Pensacola Bay, using sidescan sonar and other remote sensing equipment to look for sites along the South Carolina coast and in Mexico, or simply prospecting in a particular water-body, like Port Royal Sound and Winyah Bay for some of the earliest known European shipwrecks along the coast.

The documentation of Civil War naval vessels like the Confederate submarine, H.L. Hunley, is a theme of Spirek's work, as well as the remains of other wartime vessels. He will talk about these projects in his illustrated lecture, which will also cover the field of underwater archaeology.

Spirek earned a master's degree in maritime history and nautical archaeology from East Carolina University in 1993. He has been directing the Port Royal Sound Survey, a regional survey to document intertidal and submerged cultural resources in the sound and connected waterways.

The lecture, the first of the 2012/2013 inaugural Explorations Lecture Series, will be held in Room 100 of CCU's Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine & Wetland Studies at 290 Allied Drive in Conway, off U.S. 501. The series is sponsored by the Center for Archaeology and Anthropology at Coastal Carolina University.

Contact Cheryl Ward, director of the center, at or 843-349-6657 for more information.