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2010 ECU Nearshore Expedition
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Blog: June 3, 2010

John C. Bright
East Carolina University

We returned to the O'Keefe site today, greeted by a sunny, mild morning. Earlier in the week, work focused on excavating trenches across the site, necessary to uncover features diagnostic in determining the vessel's age and origin. Today we continued these trenches, exposing a garboard (the first plank placed on the bottom of a vessel, beginning its outer, watertight, skin) underneath the vessel's large backbone.

Katie Cooper and Dan Brown record the O’Keefe Site timbers (Program in Maritime Studies)
Katie Cooper and Dan Brown record the O'Keefe Site timbers (Program in Maritime Studies)
Next, we shifted our efforts to exposing floor timbers and futtocks along the vessel's port side at ten foot intervals. After clearing the sand off the timbers, we established a perpendicular baseline along each, for the purpose of documenting curvature along the inboard side of each timber. Offset measurements were recorded every foot along the baseline, and then taken back to our drafting lab in Manteo to be drawn.

From four timbers exposed along a forty foot section of excavated remains, we were able to prepare a line's drawing of the vessel's port side, aft. The line's drawing constitutes an integral part in determining the vessels age and origin, as it can be compared with lines' drawings of other vessels and typed accordingly.

Preliminary examination shows the lines from the O'Keefe site are similar to those of the clipper ships, made famous during the later part of the nineteenth century. These results agree with the vessel's construction features, though further examination will be necessary to make any definitive conclusions.

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