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College of Arts & Sciences
Maritime Research Division


MRD Charleston Field Office Finds New Home at Warren Lasch Lab

The Charleston Field Office recently relocated to modern facilities at Clemson's Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the old Charleston Navy Base.

UPDATE JULY 2020 - The Charleston Field Office will cease operation on July 31, 2020 following the departure of Nate Fulmer in Charleston.

     On June 1st, 2018 the SCIAA Maritime Research Division Charleston Field Office moved to a more modern office suite at Clemson University’s Warren Lasch Conservation Center on the old Charleston Navy Base. After 25 years based in a spartan mobile unit on Fort Johnson, we bid farewell to the old office the day before as it finally rolled off the grounds of the fort.  While it was bittersweet to watch that trailer roll away on its final journey to the mobile office boneyard, I’m beyond ecstatic to have much nicer quarters at the new location. 

SCIAA MRD Underwater Archaeologist and Charleston Field Office Manager Nate Fulmer fields reports from the public and administrates the South Carolina Hobby Diver License Program at the Division's office suite at the Warren Lasch Center on the old Charleston Navy Base. 

Among a wide array of other duties, the MRD Charleston Field Office operated by Nate Fulmer is  responsible for administrating the South Carolina Hobby License Program for collection of submerged artifacts, conducting related site assessments, and managing the Hobby Diver Report Archive, one of the largest information databases of submerged cultural resources in the nation. Of course, the Lasch lab is probably best known for the ongoing effort to conserve the H.L. Hunley submarine, which has been parked inside a massive custom tank here at the lab since it was recovered from the murky waters near Charleston harbor in August of 2000.

In addition to the MRD’s efforts to help locate and recover the Hunley, SCIAA and the Lasch lab have an established record of close collaboration. In October 2015, our colleagues at Warren Lasch received three cannons, including two Brooke Rifle cannons and one captured Dahlgren smoothbore cannon, immediately after we recovered them from the depths of the Great Pee Dee River.  All three guns had been missing since they were jettisoned from the CSS Pee Dee near Mars Bluff at the end of the American Civil War in 1865.  Subsequent removal of sediments revealed cannon markings which provide important information in terms of provenance and naval technology of the time period. The artifacts we extracted from their bores consisted of iron grape shot, a cannonball and stand fused to fragments of a powder bag, and a wooden sabot. Each of these artifacts is now undergoing different conservation treatments according to their material and condition and we anticipate completion of this project in the near future when the guns will be returned to Florence County for public display.

Despite some of the things you might hear during football season, we’re determined to show everyone in the state how well University of South Carolina and Clemson can get along under one roof. Our relocation to Warren Lasch is a perfect fit for the division’s presence in Charleston, and the close proximity to other underwater archaeologists and conservators at the lab has already spurred several collaborative efforts with our colleagues from Clemson and participants in the Hobby License Program. 

The new 3D scanner and printer at the Charleston Field Office was recently obtained through ART grant funding.  This versatile piece of equipment will be used to document isolated hobby diver finds and to create educational typologies for future Artifact Identification Workshops.

Shortly after arrival at the lab, I obtained a new 3D printer and scanner courtesy of a 2018 Archaeological Research Trust grant.  I will be using this awesome piece of equipment to copy and replicate isolated finds and produce an educational projectile point typology for use in our Artifact Identification Workshops. If 3D modeling and printing interests you, please stay tuned to our website and social media pages for more updates on these efforts in the near future.

Beyond the obvious advantages of improved facilities and access to more reliable internet connectivity, I know our presence here at the Lasch lab will continue to facilitate closer collaboration with our colleagues on other projects as we carry on the Maritime Research Division’s mission to preserve and protect South Carolina’s maritime archaeological heritage through research, management, and public education & outreach. 

If you haven’t already, please take a moment to update your records with our new mailing address and telephone number:

SCIAA Maritime Research Division
Charleston Field Office
1250 Supply Street

North Charleston, SC 29405

Office Phone: (843)747-1500
As always, you can contact us via email anytime at mrd@sc.edu.