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Seashore Works to Preserve Cemetery Headstones At Portsmouth Village and Shackleford Banks

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Date: June 29, 2010

Contact: Wouter Ketel, (252) 728-2250 Ext. 3005

Harkers Island, NC – Superintendent Russel J. Wilson announced an ongoing project at Cape Lookout National Seashore to document, repair, straighten, and clean headstones within the cemeteries of Portsmouth Village and on Shackelford Banks. The restoration project was funded with Dr. Frances Gale of the University of Texas at Austin, Historic Preservation Program.

For a week during March, 2010, Dr. Gale and several graduate students completed a condition assessment of these cemeteries. For three weeks in May and June graduate students Jessica Ugarte and Kelley Russell returned to Cape Lookout to begin cleaning the headstones and affecting repairs. In Portsmouth Village, headstones were cleaned with a biocide that kills biological growth but does not damage the headstones. Some headstones and footstones were dug up and straightened and other cracked and previously repaired headstones were repaired with stainless steel pins, epoxy, and appropriate mortar. Several headstones and footstones in the Shackleford cemetery were dug up, straightened, a raised after years of sand deposition. Two other vaulted graves in which only the headstone and footstone were visible were uncovered. Another gravesite that was thought to be unmarked was found to have the remains of a covered vault but missing the headstone and footstone.

Dr. Gale and the graduate students will return this fall to complete additional restoration activities.

Did You Know?

Right Whale fluke

If you keep your eyes on the water, you may catch a glimpse of whales’ tails (shown here), dolphins playing in the water, or sea turtles popping up for a breath of air. Cape Lookout National Seashore More...