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

May 2011 Archives

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May 12, 2011

Jacksonville Magazine May 2011

Posted by: Beau Phillips in LAMPosts


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May 11, 2011

LAMP's Search for Shipwrecks Highlighted in Jacksonville Magazine

Trinite in storm.jpg

A great story recently appeared in Jacksonville Magazine thanks to writer Alison Trinidad, who interviewed LAMP staff and our colleague at the Center for Historical Archaeology Dr. John De Bry. The article focuses on the 1565 loss of Ribault's French fleet, which had made the initial attempt to colonize the First Coast. The destruction of Ribault's ships by hurricane paved the way for Pedro Menendez' successful and permanent settlement at St. Augustine. These shipwrecks thus played a pivotal role in American history, and as we approach the 450th anniversary of their loss, their discovery would be the holy grail of maritime archaeology in Northeast Florida:

"This is an event that changed the course of history," says John de Bry, an Indialantic-based historian and archaeologist working on the search. If the Spanish had not successfully colonized, we might be living in a different Florida."

"Its a timely topic," adds Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse's research arm, known as LAMP. "We know that the fleet was scattered south of St. Augustine to as far as Cape Canaveral. That's a huge area to cover. It would take years and years to search, but it would be nice to by 2015."

LAMP, or Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, routinely conducts shipwreck surveys near and around the nation's oldest port, but the search for Ribault's sunken fleet would take them into uncharted waters. "All our work here has been done and focused in St. Augustine," Meide says. "We're used to day trips. Logistically, its quite different for us."

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