Hobby diver discovers pieces of South Carolina history

By Brennan McDavid

South Carolina has a decorated history and much of it can be found at the bottom of it’s rivers. Hobby divers such as Dave White scour the oceans and riverbeds for ancient artifacts and fossils. Before White was hobby diver, he was a dentist. In his spare time he would go diving for sharks teeth. 

“When I had my office in Surfside I gave a lot of sharks teeth away. I never saw a kid that didn’t want a shark tooth,” said White.

However, his quest for shark teeth eventually turned into a treasure hunt.

“It’s amazing how someone’s garbage from the 17 or 1800’s would fascinate you, but it does,” he said.

White does much of his diving in the Inter-coastal Waterway and Waccamaw River. He dives about 35 feet and scrapes the bottom for artifacts.

“Your visibility is about one foot with very good light and you move slow and deliberate,” said White.

White has found everything from the tooth of a Mastadon (cousin of the Wooly Mammoth) to beer bottles from the Civil War era. His best discoveries remain incased on the top shelf in his office. 

” All of a sudden a very old bottle appears and a very old intact tea cup appears. come to find out they are about 100 years apart,” he said.

White says the most exciting part about his hobby is never knowing what you’ll find because the rivers are always changing.

“Things shift and get covered and uncovered, so there is always a potential of change from that and therefore potential to find something, “said White.

Hobby divers must report all of their finds to the South Carolina Department of Archeology.

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