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A SUB-SURFACE
RADAR EXPLORATION
OF LAKE PHELPS,
NORTH CAROLINA,
September, 1992

Report
prepared for
The North Carolina Division
of Archives and History
Raleigh, North Carolina
by Donald G. Shomette
Director,
Nautical Archaeological Associates
Upper Marlboro,
Maryland

March 1993

I crost unto the other side
In such a shining odd invention.
I scarce can give it due Dimention.
The Indians call this Watry Waggon
Canoo, a Vessel non can brag on,
Cut from a Popular-tree or pine
and fashioned like a Trough for Swine;
In this most Noble Fishing Boat
I boldly put myself a-float
Standing Emet with Legs strech'd wide
We paddled to the other side;
Wher being Landed safe by hap,
As Sol fell into Thetis Lap.

Ebenezer Cook
The Sotweed Factor
1708

TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. Introduction ..........................................................................................................
Introduction .............................................................................................................
Organization of the Report .....................................................................................

II. Natural Setting ...................................................................................................
Geological Setting ...................................................................................................
Geology and Geomorphology .................................................................................

III. Previous Investigations ....................................................................................
1982 Somerset Place Survey ..................................................................................
1985 Discovery of Dugout Log Canoes .................................................................
1985-1986 North Carolina Division of Archives and History Investigations ......
1986 East Carolina University Investigations .......................................................
Sequence of Prehistoric Activity ............................................................................

Sequence of Prehistoric Activity (continued) ........................................................

IV. Historic Over-view of Lake Phelps ..................................................................
The Dugout Log Canoes of Lake Phelps ...............................................................

V. Field Methodology .............................................................................................
Project Design .........................................................................................................
Equipment ...............................................................................................................
The Subsurface Interface Radar System .............................................................
Description of SIR System Components ..............................................................
General Description ..............................................................................................
Sony Pyxis GPS Global Positioning System ........................................................
General Equipment ...............................................................................................
Personnel ................................................................................................................

VI. The 1992 Survey ...........................................................................................
Mobilization ...........................................................................................................
Transect B Survey .................................................................................................
Reconnaissance of Canoes 7, 18 and 19 ..............................................................
Transect C Survey .................................................................................................
Transect C Resurvey ............................................................................................

VII. Comments and Recommendations ................................................................

Appendix A: A Library of Sub-Surface Radar Signatures ...................................
Index to GPR Mobilization Testing, September 19, 1992 ....................................
Index to Transect B Survey, September 20, 1992 ................................................
Index to Transect C Survey, September 22, 1992 ................................................
Index to Transect C Partial Resurvey, September 23, 1992 ................................
Index to Transect C Random Testing, September 23, 1992 ................................
Index to Testing on Canoes 11 and 15 ..................................................................
Signature Library ...................................................................................................

Appendix B: Maps of Lake Phelps Survey Findings in Transects B and C .......
TransectB ...............................................................................................................
Transect C .............................................................................................................

Bibliography ...........................................................................................................

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List of Figures

Figure 1: Study Area Location .....................................................................................
Figure 2: Regional Loational Map ...............................................................................
Figure 3: Lake Phelps Region ......................................................................................
Figure 4: Peat Occurences on the Pamlico-Albermarle Peninsula ..............................
Figure 5: Lake Phelps Bottom Sediment Distribution, July 1979................................
Figure 6: Lake Phelps Lithologies ................................................................................
Figure 7: Lake Phelps Contour Plot ..............................................................................
Figure 8: Water Level of Lake Phelps, 1965-1974 ......................................................
Figure 9: Water Level of Lake Phelps, 1974-1988 ......................................................
Figure 10: Site 0002PHL Locational Map ...................................................................
Figure 11: Site 0002PHL Site Plan ...............................................................................
Figure 12: Site 0002PHL Cross Section .......................................................................
Figure 13: Lake Phelps Canoe Locations and C-14 Dates ..........................................
Figure 14: Lake Phelps Archaeological Site Locations ...............................................
Figure 15: Collection Units from 31WH12 ...................................................................
Figure 16: Lake Phelps Culture Sequence ...................................................................
Figure 17: Map of North Carolina 1585 .......................................................................
Figure 18: Native Woman Holding Earthenware Pottery Jug .....................................
Figure 19: Cooking in Earthen Pots ..............................................................................
Figure 20: Natives Fishing in Canoe and Afoot ............................................................
Figure 21: A Native Fishing Weir of the Albemarle Region ........................................
Figure 22: Map of Lake Phelps and the Collins Canal .................................................
Figure 23: The Coastal Region of North Carolina ca. 1585 .........................................
Figure 24: The Manufacture of a Dugout Log Canoe ..................................................
Figure 25: Log Canoes Employed in Hunting and Fishing ............................................
Figure 26: Proposed Locations of Lake Phelps GPR Survey Transect .......................
Figure 27: Suggested 200 X 500 GPR Survey Grid ......................................................
Figure 28: Geographic Locational Coordinates of Lake Phelps Canoes .....................
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See Also: "Ancient Pots and Dugout Canoes: Indian Life as Revealed by Archaeology at Lake Phelps," by David S. Phelps, 1989. (Brochure for Pettigrew State Park)

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Carolina Algonkian Project, All Rights Reserved