OUTER BANKS, NC (NCDOT) — North Carolina’s Outer Banks are known for their long, rich history, and even some notorious pirates. But some may not be familiar with the story of one vessel that sits beneath the waves off Rodanthe’s coast in the Pamlico Sound.
Recently, the Department of Transportation partnered with the University of North Carolina Coastal Studies Institute to study what is known as the Pappy’s Lane shipwreck. As the wreckage lies near the Bonner Bridge replacement, the department committed to researching the sunken vessel and try to identify it.
Dr. Nathan Richards and graduate students from East Carolina University mapped the site and researched the potential history of the wreck using maritime records and what is left of the ship’s hull.
Eventually they concluded that the ship was used in the Pacific during World War II as either a landing craft infantry, which used ramps to get men onto beaches, or a landing craft support, which provided armed support for the landing craft.
Digging deeper into the wreck’s background, the team discovered the LCS123 was sold as surplus after the war, then altered and refitted to carry heating oil and diesel.
“Once you lose an archaeological site it’s gone forever. It’s not something you can replant or renourish and have that resource return,” said Matthew Wilkerson, NCDOT Archaeology Group Leader. “I think North Carolina does a good job with its stewardship responsibility with these types of cultural properties.”
Based on information collected, the department’s archaeology group and the State Historic Preservation Office determined that the shipwreck is eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places.