Whaling in North Carolina

Nathan Richards, the Program Head of Maritime Heritage at the UNC-Coastal Studies Institute and Associate Professor of Maritime Studies at East Carolina University, and Ryan Bradley, a student of Maritime Studies at ECU, are in the early stages of a project that will study the history and archaeology of North Carolina Whaling. Much of this history (as told in archival sources) is fragmented, or focused in the vicinity of Shackleford Banks. 

Richards and Bradley are hoping that material culture and oral history might paint a different picture and highlight the use of the area north of Shackleford Banks for organized or opportunistic whaling activities. They are tracking objects, such as a try pots, and other potential whaling implements (such as harpoons, large flensing knives, or spades).  Try pots were often repurposed for other uses, either for continued use as a food or laundry pot (sometimes called a “black pot” seem image below) or other special uses.

If you are knowledgeable about the history of NC Whaling, whether it be of a place, oral history, photographs or objects, please contact Nathan Richards at richardsn@ecu.edu.

Whaling Black Pot, today used as planter, is an example of whaling items Dr. Richards is hoping to find and document.