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College of Arts & Sciences
Maritime Research Division


Laurel Hill Barge No. 2

In 1990, two sport divers discovered the remains of four barges in the Waccamaw River along the waterfront of the former rice plantation Laurel Hill. The Maritime Research Division developed a project to record the barges to serve two purposes: 1) to initiate a multi-year project along the waterfront plantations on the Waccamaw River, and 2) to provide an opportunity for sport divers to assist the Division in recording the archaeological resources in this waterway. Investigations concentrated on one barge, named Laurel Hill Barge No. 2, due to the large size and complexity of construction of this vessel. The barge measured 17 meters (55 feet 6 inches) in length and 4.7 meters (15 feet 7 inches) in breadth.  Associated artifacts suggest a large date range from the mid-18th to mid-19th century.  Sturdily built and exhibiting fine craftsmanship, the barge may have been used to transport a planter family for social occaions or transport agricultural products. However employed, the barge sheds light on the techniques and materials used to build an utilitarian watercraft to ply the local waters of the Waccamaw River.

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Related Information

1992. Harris, Lynn. "The Waccamaw-Richmond Hill Waterfront Project 1991: Laurel Hill Barge No. 2." Research Manuscript Series No. 214. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. Columbia, South Carolina.

1992. Harris, Lynn. "The Waccamaw River Project." Occasional Maritime Research Papers. Maritime Research Division. South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology. Unversity of South Carolina. Columbia, SC.