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The Mepkin Abbey Shipwreck: Diving into Mepkin Plantation's Past.

Susan Lynn Vezeau
Thesis: August 2004
Chair: Crisman
Nautical Archaeology Program

When discovered by sport divers in 1970, the Mepkin Abbey shipwreck was immediately reported to the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology (SCIAA). The wreck was first investigated in 1980, and a preliminary report was published in 1981. The shipwreck is now part of 'The Cooper River Underwater Heritage Trail,' established in 1998. SCIAA archaeologists theorized that the wreck was the sloop Baker, owned in the late 1700s by American patriot and Mepkin Plantation owner Henry Laurens.

This thesis includes a description of the field research, drawings of the vessel, a scantling list, and a discussion of the artifacts recovered from the site which provided clues dating the vessel to the second quarter of the 19th century. The historical background of Mepkin Plantation is described, with a focus on how the craft may have been utilized. Finally, the thesis compares the wreck with other documented vessels from the same region and period, specifically: the Brown's Ferry vessel, Clydesdale Plantation sloop, and Malcolm boat.

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