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The Day the Johnboat Went up the Mountain

Stories from My Twenty Years in South Carolina Maritime Archaeology

Carl Naylor

Published: Aug 27 2012




Published: Jun 5 2012

OA Ebook
Published: Jun 5 2012


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

True tales of underwater adventures and discoveries in the Palmetto State's maritime history

Combining his skills as a veteran journalist and well-practiced storyteller with his two decades of underwater adventures in maritime archaeology, Carl Naylor offers a candid account of remarkable discoveries in the Palmetto State's history and prehistory. Through a mix of personal anecdotes and archaeological data, Naylor's memoir documents his experiences in the service of the Maritime Research Division of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology.

Shared in a companionable tone, his insightful survey of Naylor's distinguished career is highlighted by his firsthand account of serving as diving officer for the raising of the Confederate available submarine H. L. Hunley in 1996 and the subsequent investigation of its victim, the USS Housatonic. He also recounts tales of dredging the bottom of an Allendale County creek for evidence of the earliest Paleoindians, exploring the waters off Winyah Bay for a Spanish ship lost in 1526 and the waters of Port Royal Sound for a French corsair wrecked in 1577, studying the remainsof the historic Santee Canal near Moncks Corner, searching for evidence of Hernando de Soto's travels through South Carolina in 1540s. Naylor describes as well his investigations of suspected Revolutionary War gunboats in the Cooper River, a colonial and Revolutionary War shipyard on Hobcaw Creek, the famous Brown's Ferry cargo vessel found in the Black River, a steamship sunk in a storm off Hilton Head Island in 1899, and a mysterious cargo site in the Cooper River.

Throughout these episodes, Naylor gives an insider's view of the methods of underwater archaeology in stories that focus on the events, personalities, and contexts of historic finds and on the impact of these discoveries on our knowledge of the Palmetto State's past. Naylor's narrative serves as an authoritative personal account of South Carolina's ongoing efforts to discover and preserve evidence of its own remarkable maritime history.

A U.S. Navy veteran, Carl Naylor worked as a South Carolina newspaper journalist and a diving instructor before he joined the staff of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, where he is diving supervisor and archaeologist assistant for its Maritime Research Division. He is an instructor for the institute's underwater archaeology field-training course and acts as captain for its research vessels. Naylor lives on James Island near Charleston.

"Add a pinch of Mark Twain–style humor, throw in an adventurous dash of Indiana Jones, mix well with South Carolina history, and stir in a whole lot of water. The result is Carol Naylor's thoroughly entertaining and informative archaeological tour of the shipwrecks and other sites resting beneath the Palmetto State's rivers, lakes, and coastline. His descriptions of encounters with Civil War blockade runnners and alligators are a testament to the skills of the professional and avocational scientists who conduct their research in scuba gear, and to their passion for the maritime history of South Carolina."—Charles R. Cobb, director of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology

"Projects and adventures are reported with a blend of humor, historical context, and technical detail that ensures something for everyone . . . . Naylor has produced a book that will engage anyone with an interest in or curiosity about South Carolina maritime heritage."—South Carolina Antiquities

"Naylor melds the technical with a sense of the human element . . . [with a] vein of humor wound through the text."—Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier

"Naylor has drawn upon his experiences in the water and as a journalist to write a lively, engaging, and appropriately tongue-in-cheek account of his many years in public service . . . He explains, evocatively and with delightful humor about the state's varied and significant submerged cultural resources, the job he and his colleagues do, how they do it, and why."—International Journal of Maritime History

"Naylor provides readers with a unique window into the many facets of maritime archaeology in a way that no one else could. His perspectives are shared by many of us who work in this profession, but he is the first to my knowledge to offer them so openly and candidly in a coherent way. Naylor has skillfully woven throughout this narrative humorous anecdotal tales with well-researched historical facts and archaeological lessons as he recounts and interprets his journeys through South Carolina's heritage. Readers will enjoy the trip and learn a great deal in the process."—Roger C. Smith, Florida Division of Historical Resources

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