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College of Arts & Sciences
Maritime Research Division


Brown's Ferry Vessel

Browns Ferry Vessel

Discovered by sport divers in 1971 in the Black River near Brown's Ferry Landing, small merchant vessel was found laden with approximately 25 tons of bricks and other artifacts associated with the wreck.  An analysis of these artifacts led archaeologists to conclude the wreck dated to the mid-late 18th century.  Deemed archaeologically and historically important to the state of South Carolina, the shipwreck was recovered from the river in 1976 to undergo treatment at the SCIAA conservation center on the University of South Carolina's Columbia campus. Over the course of a sixteen years, the vessel was conserved using a method involving Polyethelene Glycol or PEG then moved to the Rice Museum in Georgetown in 1992. In 1993, a SCIAA team reconstructed the vessel and prepared it for exhibition.  The Brown's Ferry Vessel and some associated artifacts remain on display at the Rice Museum in Georgetown.

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Related Information

2003. Amer, Christopher F., Leader, Jonathan M. "Rolling on the River." Legacy. Vol. 7, No. 2. December 2002/Vol. 8, No. 1 July 2003. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. University of South Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina. pp. 38-39.

1997. Amer, Christopher F., Leader, Jonathan M., Hocker, Frederick M. "Browns Ferry Vessel." Underwater and Maritime Archaeology, an Encyclopedia. J.P. Delgado, ed. British Museum Press. London.

1995. Amer, Christopher F., Hocker, Frederick M. "A Comparative Analysis of Three Sailing Merchant Vessels from the Carolina Coast." Tidecraft: The Boats of South Carolina, Georgia, and Northern Florida, 1550-1950. William C. Fleetwood WBG Marine Press. Georgia. pp. 295-303.

1992. Hocker, Frederick M. "The Brown's Ferry Vessel: An Interim Hull Report.” Underwater Archaeology Proceedings. Society for Historical Archaeology Conference. Donald H. Keith and Toni L. Carrell (eds.). Society for Historical Archaeology. pp. 20-25.

1979. Albright, Alan. B. & Steffy, J. Richard "The Brown's Ferry Vessel, South Carolina: A Preliminary Report." The International Journal of Nautical Archaeology and Underwater Exploration. The Nautical Archaeology Trust Ltd. London, UK.

1979. Steffy, J. Richard. "Preliminary Report: Hull Construction Features of the Brown's Ferry Vessel." SCIAA Notebook. Vol. X. January-December. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. University of South Carolina. Columbia, South Carolina.

1978. Steffy, J. Richard. "Construction Details of the Brown's Ferry Ship.” Beneath the Waters of Time: The Proceedings of the Ninth Conference on Underwater Archaeology. J. Barto Arnold III (ed.). Society for Historic Archaeology. pp.55-62.