Update Sept. 5: The town hall meeting originally set for Aug. 31 by the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology in Swansboro has been rescheduled for 6-8 p.m. Sept. 14.
Update Aug. 29: Due to the threat of inclement weather, the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology will postpone a Town Hall meeting planned for Thursday, Aug. 31, in Swansboro. The meeting to gather local knowledge of the area’s historic sites, cemeteries, community ties and local history will be rescheduled.
Original post Aug. 18:
North Carolina Office of State Archaeology staff are holding a town hall meeting in Swansboro to collect local knowledge about Hammocks Beach State Park.
The meeting has been scheduled for 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, in the Swansboro Area Heritage Center, 502 W. Church St.
The town hall is about the agency’s project to identify, document and assess archaeological resources along the shoreline between 200 feet inland and 200 feet outward from the mean tidal zone in hurricane-impacted, state-owned and managed lands across the coastal counties.
This project will provide a baseline for understanding different climate change and storm effects on day and waterlogged sites, as well as broaden our understanding of coastal communities’ experiences and ways of life, officials said.
Researchers are hoping to identify at-risk sites associated with North Carolina’s maritime industries and African American communities.
Hammocks Beach State Park in Swansboro is one of the project areas.
Hammocks Beach, which began as a private park for African Americans, was donated to the state in 1961. The park is made up of a mainland area and three barrier islands, including the 4-mile-long Bear Island, according to the State Library of North Carolina.
Previous surveys identified archaeological resources ranging from prehistoric shell middens to historic industrial sites, and additional research indicates that there are other unidentified resources in the park. The state archaeology office is conducting another survey in the area to assess damage to the previously identified resources, and document erosion along the shorelines.
The town hall will begin at 6 p.m. with an hourlong open house. Attendees will be able to view maps of the project areas, a slideshow of the types of sites that are likely to be in the park, and chat with project researchers about the project.
The second half includes a presentation by AECOM, a resource management firm. This presentation will formally present the project goals, objectives, and methods for the project.
An Emergency Supplemental Historic Preservation Fund grant, money appropriated by Congress in response to hurricanes Florence and Michael in 2018 and administered by the National Park Service, supports the project.