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College of Arts & Sciences
SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology


James D. Spirek

State Underwater Archaeologist
South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology
University of South Carolina

Phone Number: (803) 576-6566
Office: 1321 Pendleton St, 1st Floor, Suite 17
Division: Maritime Research Division


Jim received his M.A. in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University in 1993. Jim is in charge of review and compliance for the division, and is also responsible for conducting archaeological research in the state's waterways. Research interests lie in shipbuilding and seafaring of the 16th-century, ship architecture, remote-sensing operations, and in providing public access to submerged maritime resources. Prior to working for the Institute, Jim spent three and a half years working for the Pensacola Shipwreck Survey locating and recording shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay, Florida. Two of those years were spent excavating a Spanish shipwreck most likely associated with the failed Tristan de Luna expedition of 1559. Research and contract projects have taken him to Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, Virginia, Wisconsin, and Bermuda to document sites ranging from a 16th-century Spanish dispatch vessel to a 370-foot Great Lakes bulk freighter.