This is a picture of the Brown’s Ferry Vessel, located in the Georgetown Rice Museum. The 18th century cargo ship has been carefully restored, and declared the ‘most important single nautical discovery in the United States to date’ by anthropologists worldwide.
Many years ago, a dive instructor licensed by the SC Institute of Archaeology and Anthropology, found this historic vessel on the bottom of the Black River at Brown’s Ferry in Georgetown County. He recognized the significance of his discovery, and gave his rights to the vessel to the Institute for Scientific Investigation. The ship was raised on August 28, 1976 and, after 16 years of restoration, was moved to its current home on the third floor of the Rice Museum. The roof of the museum had to be lifted off so the vessel could be lowered in to the exhibit area. The ship is the oldest on exhibit in the United States, predating all other ships by fifty years.
The vessel was primarily sail-driven, but was small enough to be rowed or poled along if necessary. It has a flat hull, which allowed it to be slid ashore for easy loading and unloading.
Many artifacts were salvaged from the ship, including belt buckles, china, and coins, which are all on display at the museum.
What caused the boat to sink still remains unclear. Chris Amer, an archaeologist who studied the ship wreckage, simply hinted “we found a lot of wine bottles that went down with the vessel.”
Learn more about the Browns Ferry Boat.