A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.
Welcome to the Keeper's Blog. Please join us on a discovery voyage. Share our tales of lighthouses and the sea. Talk with us at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum as we keep alive the history of the nation's oldest port.

April 15, 2014

A Thank You to the Museum Visitors!

Posted by: Sue Callaham, Ship Modeler in LAMPosts, Ship Model Journal

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Every year more and more people travel to far away places to see new sights, taste different foods, and learn more about the world around them. Visitors make the trek to St. Augustine, Florida year-round and while there, visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. When they make their way to the Gallery in the upstairs of the Keepers' House, our team of ship-modelers enjoys the opportunity to talk with them. For the help we have received from those visitors, it's time to express our thanks! And just how have the visitors been able to help the ship model team?

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April 3, 2014

Discovery on Lighthouse Grounds

Posted by: Christopher McCarron in In the News

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LAMP director Chuck Meide cataloging dig site

Even after more than 140 years, the St. Augustine Lighthouse still has buried secrets that are just now being uncovered.

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Ponte Vedra Shipwreck Mystery Solved

Posted by: Christopher McCarron in LAMPosts

There are many fascinating artifacts to be found along Florida's historic coast, but none have attracted as much recent national attention as the 67-year-old Bermuda-based shipwreck, Deliverance. Discovered by Saint Augustine's local archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) back in 2008, the shipwreck had remained an unidentified mystery until New Years Day when the shipwreck resurfaced from the sands and revealed enough details for LAMP to discover its origin and story.

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March 27, 2014

X-rays reveal shipwrecked artifacts

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An interesting artifact revealed by x-ray . . .

Tuesday, 25 March 2014, turned out to be a day of discoveries at the Lighthouse. In addition to the find of some old iron plates from the tower's upper structure buried in the courtyard (which will be featured in a subsequent blog post), we made some pretty cool discoveries at Monahan's, the local chiropractors' office. What were maritime archaeologists doing at the chiropractors? Not getting a back-cracking, but borrowing an x-ray machine! Each Tuesday we have scheduled with Monahan's to come for a visit to use their x-ray to scan a number of concreted artifacts from our 1782 Loyalist shipwreck, the Storm Wreck. What we saw on Tuesday was pretty darn cool. Join us below the fold for the full story . . .

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March 19, 2014

TOP SECRET

Posted by: Brendan Burke in LAMPosts


Since over two centuries have passed, I guess we can release this sensitive information. At one time it was top secret and valuable to the enemy. This information would have been onboard the ship that LAMP now calls the Storm Wreck. In 1782, when St. Augustine found itself as the recipient of thousands of Loyalist refugees, ships wrecked in our inlet attempting to get to safe harbor. Research continues through the winter, while we plan our dive season, and invariably we come across original documents mined from British and Scottish archives that tell amazing stories. We want to share one of these documents with you now. Fire two guns and show a green pennant at the mast head to keep reading...

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March 17, 2014

3/18/2014: Lecture--How Greek Traditions Transformed St. Augustine's Waterfront

Posted by: Chuck Meide in Events, LAMP Events, LAMPosts

What: Lecture, "How Greek Traditions Transformed the Waterfront"
Who: Brendan Burke, LAMP Archaeologist
When: Tuesday March 18th, 2014, at 7 pm
Where: Flagler Room, Flagler College, 74 King Street, St. Augustine
How much: Free admission, seating is limited

LAMP's own Brendan Burke will be presenting the final of four lectures in the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute's series "St. Augustine's Forgotten People." Be sure to show up early, they fill the room and have to turn folks away.

March 16, 2014

3/17/2014 Radio Interview: Chuck Meide on Florida Frontiers

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMP Events, LAMPosts

When I was in Cocoa Beach on March 7th to speak to the Florida Historical Society about our excavations on the 1782 Loyalist shipwreck (the Storm Wreck), FHS Director Ben Brotemarkle asked if I could sit down for a brief interview for their radio show, Florida Frontiers. I talked about our excavations on the Storm Wreck, and also fielded some questions on our upcoming search for the lost French fleet of 1565, and the ongoing controversial new theory that Fort Caroline is actually located somewhere in Georgia, not in Jacksonville.

Tune in to Florida Frontiers this Monday, March 17, at 6:30 pm on 89.9 WJCT (the Jacksonville station). It can be heard in many other NPR stations across Florida as well (click the link to Florida Frontiers to see where else it is airing, or to hear it online).

LAMP Director disputes alternative location of Fort Caroline

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

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Last month,at a conference in Tallahassee, two researchers--Crowe and Spring--gave a public presentation to announce their theory that the 1565 French colony of La Caroline was not in present-day Jacksonville, Florida, but some 70 miles to the north near Darien, Georgia. The evidence they presented to support this alternate hypothesis was not convincing to many of the scholars present at the post-presentation debate, including LAMP Director Chuck Meide.

From the March 15 edition of Ancient City News:

St Augustine Lighthouse Archaeologist, Chuck Meide, told Historic City News that he traveled to Tallahassee recently to challenge claims by scholars, Fletcher Crowe and Anita Spring, that French-occupied Ft Caroline is not actually located near Jacksonville, as we have been led to believe, but rather located along the St Mary’s River in Georgia.

Academic scholars presented the findings they have developed during course of their research. Their theory is that Ft Caroline was some 70-miles north, but Meide says that there are a number of problems with the evidence that was presented at the conference.

“First of all, it is problematic to use 16th century maps to determine an exact geographical location with any precision; as they are notoriously inaccurate and often mistakes were copied and re-copied by cartographers who had never even visited the New World,” Meide explained. “For every map presented that seemed to show the River of May further north — we could find another in which it is depicted in the Jacksonville area.”

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March 11, 2014

The Controversy of Fort Caroline: A Timeline of Media Events - UPDATED

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

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The famous de Bry engraving depicting Fort Caroline, founded by the French Huguenots on the River of May at present-day Jacksonville, Florida. A recent theory of an alternate location for the fort (the Altamaha River in Georgia) has been met by skepticism from scholars but has attracted substantial media attention.

UPDATED 16 March 2014

When the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum hosted a recent French-themed Sea Your History event featuring a lecture by Dr. John de Bry and myself on the failed French colonization attempt in Florida and the lost Ribault fleet of 1565, we met a gentleman named Fletcher Crowe. He was friendly and related to me that at the upcoming Le Floride Française conference in Tallahassee he would be relating a history of Fort Caroline and the French settlement that was very different from the one we talked about. He certainly did. Newspaper headlines in late February reported breathlessly that scientists now believed Fort Caroline to be in the middle of Georgia, rather than Florida. LAMP and the Lighthouse immediately refuted this claim, which for many reasons is less than compelling, but it has still attracted widespread media attention. In this blog post I am summarizing and documenting some of the public statements and media stories made regarding this controversial and unproven new theory. To be clear, I am simply documenting how this story has been presented in the media, and not laying out an argument against the theory; but I will state explicitly that the ideas on the alternative location of Fort Caroline espoused by Crowe and Spring contradict decades of quality scholarship by archaeologists and historians regarding the settlement of Florida by the French and Spanish, and we find no merit in their claims.

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March 6, 2014

LAMP Boatworks 2014 Boat Drawing Winner!

Posted by: Dr. Sam Turner in LAMP Boatworks, LAMP Events, LAMPosts

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This year’s lucky winner of the LAMP Boatworks 2014 wooden boat drawing is Dianne Bay of the Cape Canaveral area. Her lucky winning Ticket is No. 1030. Dianne has until March 31st, to claim her prize!