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 colorfully 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, The Day the Johnboat Went up the Mountain, documents his experiences in the service of the Maritime Research Division of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, a research arm of the University of South Carolina.
Shared in a companionable tone, this insightful survey of Naylor's distinguished career is highlighted by his firsthand account of serving as diving officer for the excavation of the Confederate submarine H. L. Hunley in 1996 and the subsequent excavation 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 remains of the historic Santee Canal near Moncks Corner, and searching for evidence of Hernando de Soto's travels through South Carolina in 1540. 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. His narrative serves as an authoritative personal account of South Carolina's ongoing efforts to discover and preserve evidence of its own remarkable maritime history.
After spending four years in the U.S. Navy, Carl Naylor worked as a South Carolina newspaper journalist before turning to his third career as a scuba-diving instructor in 1985. Two years later 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 Carl 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 runners 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, editor of Southeastern Archaeology and director of the South Carolina Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of South Carolina
"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 in a series of engaging points along the way. Readers will enjoy the trip and learn a great deal in the process."—Roger C. Smith, underwater archaeologist, Florida Division of Historical Resources, and author of Vanguard of Empire: Ships of Exploration in the Age of Columbus and An Atlas of Maritime Florida