A collection of blogs and musings from the people that work at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum - Florida's Finest Lightstation.

May 2008 Archives

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May 29, 2008

Florida Attractions Association Conference 2008

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room


It seems impossible that another year has gone by, but I have been in Weston, FL for the past couple of days for our yearly Florida Attractions Association conference.

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Sonar Reveals Urca de Lima

On a volunteer dive training trip to the Urca de Lima site recently, LAMP archaeologist Brendan Burke was busy operating our Klein 3900 sidescan sonar to 'see' the site. This is the first time that the Urca de Lima wreck site, a 1715 Spanish plate fleet ship, has been viewed using this technology and we have presented the findings from this survey here on the Lighthouse Blog!

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05/29/08 Boat Cruise and Sonar Demonstration onboard Victory III

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events

Victory III at the dock before the cruise.

What: Boat Cruise and Side Scan Sonar Demonstration for the "Unearthing First America" Symposium
When: 29 May 2008, 5:45-8:00 pm
Join symposium speakers and LAMP archaeological staff for a sunset cruise on the Victory III, and witness a demonstration of LAMP's new side scan sonar technology!

Free and open to the public! This river cruise is part of the Unearthing First America Symposium hosted by Flagler College, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, LAMP and the Lighthouse, and the Florida Humanities Council.

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05/29/08 Lecture: Shipwreck Archaeology in America's Oldest Port

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMP Events

Lecturer: LAMP Director Chuck Meide
Lecture Title: Shipwreck Archaeology in America's Oldest Port
Program: One of many lectures making up the "Unearthing First America" Symposium
When: 29 May 2008, 2:00-3:00 pm
Where: Ringhaver Student Center Auditorium, Flagler College campus, St. Augustine

Free and open to the public! The Unearthing First America Symposium (28-30 May 2008) is hosted by Flagler College, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, LAMP and the Lighthouse, and the Florida Humanities Council.

May 27, 2008

Investigation, Recovery and Conservation of a Keel

Posted by: Renee Post in LAMPosts

Chuck Meide, Kathleen McCormick, Renee Post and Mallory Valalik removing sand from around the keel.

About two months ago Park Ranger Shelly Young contacted LAMP and informed us that a local shipwreck, that has been buried in the sand, became uncovered and the keel broke free and washed onto the beach. Chuck and I went to investigate the keel Thursday, May 15 to examine its current state and decide how to transport it back to LAMP for proper conservation. When we arrived at the rangers station, we were dismayed to hear from Ranger Mitch that a vandal had sawed the keel into two pieces while we waited for approval to recover it. Ranger Mitch drove us to the site where the keel washed ashore and we immediately began to examine it. Mitch told us there was a noticeable scarf in the keel, which is where two sections of the keel joined together.

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May 26, 2008

In the News: LAMP Keelhauling gets Good Press!

Anastasia Park rangers and LAMP archaeologists carefully remove sand from around a shipwrecked keel timber before removing it from the beach for preservation in the laboratory. Photo courtesy of the St. Augustine Record

Last Thursday a great article appeared in the local paper, the St. Augustine Record.

The wooden keel of a 19th century merchant ship that wrecked on a St. Johns County beach nearly 200 years ago was recovered Wednesday, according to marine archaeologists.

Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse Archeological Maritime Program, said the heavily weathered keel was first recorded on Anastasia State Park in 2004, but Florida Park Service personnel reported recently that a piece of the keel had been sawn off by an unknown person.

LAMP stepped in to ensure there was no further damage to the relic.

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May 22, 2008

Volunteer Training Dive a Success!!

Posted by: Mallory Valalik in LAMPosts


LAMP and FPAN with their volunteer divers after a day of successful dives among the Urca de Lima 1715 shipwreck.

On May 19th and 20th LAMP joined the Florida Public Archaeology Network for a volunteer dive training off the coast of Ft. Pierce, Florida. The volunteers gained first-hand experience of the scientific diving and mapping procedures along side underwater archaeologists.

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May 16, 2008

New Interns at LAMP

Renee Post diving in water significantly clearer than in St. Augustine.

Well folks here we are again, we have two new interns, Renee Post and Mallory Valalik. Renee recently graduated from University of West Florida with a BA in Maritime Studies. Mallory is a senior at Middle Tennessee State University majoring in anthropology with a focus in bioarchaeology. Renee will be with us for a duration of three months and Mallory will be with us for a month, then to Poland to work on a medieval mortuary site, then she will be back for another month.

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May 15, 2008

Sonar Survey on the 'Total Blarney'

Posted by: Renee Post in LAMPosts

Maj. Gen. Gerry Maloney's yacht, Total Blarney.

Maj.Gen. Gerry Maloney, president of the board of directors for the SALH, was kind enough to take us on his 37’ Carver s to survey the Gulf America with our new side scan sonar. Our team of three, Chuck Meide, Brendan Burke and myself, Renee Post, left the lighthouse about 9:00 A.M. We arrived at Gerry’s boat shortly before 10:30, in Jacksonville, and loaded our equipment onto his luxurious vessel. We were pleasantly surprised to discover that the research craft for the day was much more comfortable than we could have expected. The Total Blarney’s cabin had more than enough room for us to work and the air conditioned environment helped protect our equipment from the salt spray. In the cabin, a nice bench-like sofa made a great work station for our sonar laptop. After we loaded the boat we secured the GPS antenna for the sonar computer to the Total Blarney’s stern, while we headed to the lock.

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May 13, 2008

05/19-20/08 LAMP Dive training event: the 1715 wreck of the Urca de Lima

A local diver on the anchor of the Urca de Lima, a Spanish galleon lost in 1715 off Fort Pierce, Florida.

UPDATED: Read the 22 May 08 blog entry about this great event!

LAMP will be staging a training event for members of our volunteer dive team on May 19 and 20th, 2008, in conjunction with the Florida Public Archaeology Network's East Central and Southeast Regional Centers.

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May 2, 2008

Florida Lighthouse License Plate Passes

Posted by: Rick Cain in From the Lens Room

Good news from Tallahassee. This week the state legislature passed the lighthouse license plate bill. It just needs to be signed by Governor Crist and we will all be sporting this new plate on our vehicles. An outstanding job by the volunteers of the Florida Lighthouse Association, and remember, all of the money from its sale goes to lighthouse preservation here in the state.

New Florida Lighthouse license plate

Oddly enough, an employee of ours came running in today and told me that there was a car in the parking lot with the Florida lighthouse plate on it. I said, "That's impossible. It hasen't been signed into being yet." But, sure enough, we went out to the parking lot and saw this plate on the back of a Volvo.


The plate belongs to a group in central Florida running a school for the blind and visually impared, "Lighthouse Central Florida; Vision Rehabilitation Services," hence the name of the plate, "State of Vision." That's a good thing since lighthouses have always been about keeping folks safe, even though our plate is way nicer than theirs.... but you didn't hear that from me. :-)

Light at Night

Florida lighthouses rule!