KURE BEACH – The N.C. Underwater Archaeology Branch (UAB) will host a rare behind-the-scenes tour of its facility on Wednesday, June 27, at 10 a.m., to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the sinking of the Modern Greece in 1862. Modern Greece was the first major blockade-runner lost in the Cape Fear region during the Civil War. N.C. Department of Cultural Resources Secretary Linda Carlisle will unveil a wayside sign at the North Gazebo at Fort Fisher State Historic Site at noon to commemorate the role of Modern Greece.
A massive system of fortifications anchored by Fort Fisher supported maritime trade with Europe and provided vital supplies to the Confederacy through the port of Wilmington. While trying to enter New Inlet in the early hours of June 27, Modern Greece was chased aground, fired upon, and thought to be completely destroyed. The wreck was discovered in 1962, and a salvage operation began. The thousands of artifacts raised from the sea floor signaled the beginning of underwater archaeology in North Carolina. Subsequently, the Underwater Archaeology Branch was created.
On display will be British Enfield rifles, Bowie knives, pick axes, files, leg-irons, tableware, and other military and household items. There will be demonstrations of equipment used by UAB in the discovery and recovery process. The amazing artifact assemblage from Modern Greece represents the largest and most significant collection from a blockade-runner anywhere in the world. Some artifacts are in museums, and many await the completion of conservation at the Underwater Archaeology Branch.
Historians, archaeologists and conservators will be available to answer questions on the shipwreck and the region’s Civil War role. For additional information call (910) 458-9042. The UAB is located at 1528 S. Fort Fisher Blvd, Kure Beach, N.C. 28449. It is part of theOffice of State Archaeology in the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources.