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Hunley archaeologist to speak at CCU

November 7, 2012

Maria Jacobsen, head archaeologist at the Warren Lasch Conservation Center in Charleston, will present an illustrated lecture highlighting the preservation, excavation and study of the famous Confederate submarine H.L. Hunley on Tuesday, Nov. 13 at Coastal Carolina University. The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 5:30 p.m. in the Recital Hall of CCU's Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Titled "Think Before You Touch: and other maxims in archaeology," Jacobsen's talk will summarize her 12 years of work directing the Hunley project and highlight other projects from her distinguished and wide-ranging career.

A terrestrial and nautical archaeologist, Jacobsen has conducted fieldwork in northern Europe, the eastern Mediterranean and in the United States. These projects have included excavations of ancient maritime settlements in Israel, including Herod the Great's first century B.C. harbor complex at Caesarea. She has been involved in the excavations of several historical ships in Turkey, Israel, the Netherlands and the Matagorda Bay in Texas. She is an expert on ancient ship reconstruction, surveying and drafting techniques. Jacobsen worked for 10 years at the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, an international nonprofit organization, at Texas A&M University.

Built in 1863 in Mobile, Ala., the Hunley became the first submarine in history to sink an enemy ship during wartime when she attacked the U.S. warship Housatonic in February 1864 in Charleston Harbor. Returning to port after the successful attack, the Hunley sank mysteriously, its exact whereabouts unknown for more than 130 years. The vessel was raised in August 2000.

Jacobsen plans and manages the interdisciplinary study of the submarine's crew (whose remains were found inside the submarine), the archaeological investigations of the hull, and associated artifacts. This work is conducted with research partners and students from a number of federal, state and private entities.

The lecture is part of the Explorations Lecture Series presented by CCU's Center for Archaeology and Anthropology. For more information, call Cheryl Ward, director of the center, at 843349-6657 or email at