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SC Institute for Archeology and Anthropology

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The MRD employs two full-time staff.


James D. Spirek--State Underwater Archaeologist

Head of the Maritime Research Division, Jim has worked there since 1996 and in his current position since 2012.  His responsibilities include managing and studying the maritime archaeological legacy residing in the lakes, rivers, and coastal waters of South Carolina. These duties include implementing archaeological research, overseeing regulatory and legislative mandates, and issuing Exclusive Licenses. Research interests lie in Civil War naval operations, shipbuilding and seafaring of the 16th-century, remote-sensing operations, and in providing public access to submerged maritime resources. Before joining the Institute, Jim spent three and a half years documenting shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay, Florida. Research and contract projects have taken him throughout the US and International waters to document sites ranging from 16th-century Spanish shipwrecks to Great Lakes bulk freighters. He received his M.A. in Maritime History and Nautical Archaeology from East Carolina University in 1993 and a B.A. in History from George Mason University in 1987.



Will Nassif--Underwater Archaeologist

Will handles the Section 106 mandated review and compliance for the Division, conducts site and collection assessments throughout the state, and participates in underwater archaeological projects. He was born in Durham, North Carolina and spent most of his childhood between there and Cary, NC. After graduating high school, he enrolled at Appalachian State University and graduated with a B.A. in History with a minor in Accounting. He returned to the Triangle and taught at Athens Drive High School for two years, where he also coached the school’s football and lacrosse teams. Building on his childhood love of North Carolina’s rivers and coastline, he returned to higher education as a student in East Carolina University’s Program in Maritime Studies. His thesis research into the historic Pamlico River port of Washington sought to examine the relationship between port infrastructure technology and economic trends. Along with his excursions into the Pamlico River, he has conducted maritime archaeological surveys at several other Tar/Pamlico River sites, shipwrecks off the NC coast, military equipment in the Marshall Islands, terrestrial surveys on the Outer Banks, and shipwrecks in Guam. He looks forward to protecting South Carolina’s maritime heritage. 



SC Institute for Archeology and Anthropology

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