Paper No. 52-0
SHARRER, Elizabeth A.1, DARRAH, Suzanne G.1, HARRIS, M. Scott1, and JACOBSEN, Maria2, (1) Marine Science, Coastal Carolina University, Center for Marine and Wetland Studies, 1270 Atlantic Avenue, Conway, SC 29526,, (2) Warren Lasch Conservation Center, Friends of the Hunley, Former Charleston Naval Base, 1250 Supply St., Bldg. 255, Charleston, SC 29405

The Confederate built H.L. Hunley became the first submarine in wartime history to sink a ship in battle. Her crew detonated an explosive charge against the hull of the Housatonic, a Union blockade ship stationed offshore Charleston Harbor in South Carolina on February 17, 1864. The Hunley (12.5m by ~1.3m) was lost with all hands and discovered in 1995. By analyzing macrofauna in the sub, trends and relations to stratigraphically defined units have been possible and help understand sedimentation of the interior since 1864. After recovery in August 2000, conservators placed the entire sub and contents into a cold-water tank at the Lasch Conservation Lab in Charleston, SC. Opened in February 2001, the interior compartment was entirely filled with sediment, containing abundant marine macrofauna. During archaeological excavation, materials >~2 mm were sieved and kept for study. Species abundance and size were obtained by visually inspecting the 653 spatially-referenced bucket samples. The general stratigraphy inside the sub consists of a mud layer at the base with various mud and fine-grained shelly sand units above. Distinct episodes of sedimentation are apparent through identification of macrofauna type and distribution in the sub. Backbarrier and offshore species were identified, indicating that shells were brought into and that organisms lived in the sub. Common species include Crassostrea, Ensis, Spisula, Sand dollars, Divaricella, Anomia, Noetia, and Acardia. Abraded and broken samples indicate exposure on the shelf prior to deposition in the sub. The presence of whelk opercula, large in situ Pinnea shells, and encrusting bryozoa, tube worms, and coral provides evidence for growth of organisms within the subís interior. After initial sedimentation of fine-grained materials with rare bivalves and later filling of relatively coarse shelf materials, in situ shells indicate a calm period of little to no deposition. Afterwards, another episode depositing shelf-reworked fauna added additional materials to the sub. Through this continuing study, multiple sources of infilling materials have been recognized and the arrangement of various stratigraphically important layers identified. By continuing to study both the fauna and the sediments, the mystery of the sinking of the Hunley may be revealed.

GSA Annual Meeting, November 5-8, 2001
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 52--Booth# 11
Archaeological Geology (Posters)
Hynes Convention Center: Hall D
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Tuesday, November 6, 2001

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