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SC Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology

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The MRD employs three 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 archaeological 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.



Wyatt Krater--Underwater Archaeologist

Wyatt handles the Section 106 mandated review and compliance for the Division while participating in its underwater research and educational outreach. Wyatt is from Pennsylvania where he graduated from high school and enrolled in the archaeology program at the University of Pittsburgh. While completing his bachelor's degree he participated in archaeological excavations in Egypt and the United States. He then completed a master’s degree at the University of Southampton (UK) where he developed a deep interest in recreational and professional diving, colonial maritime economies, shipbuilding, and island cultures. While studying at the University of Southampton he participated in archaeological studies of Bermuda and coastal England. He began professionally practicing underwater and maritime archaeology in Ireland soon after graduating; where he gained experience implementing underwater heritage law, managing commercial underwater archaeology projects, conducting research, and everything in between. Wyatt is excited to help protect and discover South Carolina’s underwater archaeological heritage.



Kendra Ellis--Underwater Archaeologist

Kendra administers the Hobby Licenses and quarterly reports, as well as participates in underwater archaeological projects. After graduating high school with her associate’s degree, she spent the next two years at James Madison University earning her Bachelor of Science in anthropology. It was here she learned that she could combine her scuba diving skills and interest in archaeology and turn them into a career. After taking time off from her studies to advance her diving skills, Kendra returned to school at East Carolina University and earned a Master of Arts in the Program in Maritime Studies. She incorporated geospatial analysis and historical knowledge to understand the reasoning behind the abandonment of a coastal community in North Carolina. She looks forward to using the skills taught to her to learn more about and preserve the maritime archaeological heritage of South Carolina

SC Institute for Archaeology and Anthropology

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