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

October 2012 Archives

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October 6, 2012

Great story on the Storm Wreck in Charleston's Paper

A really great article on our work on the Storm Wreck just came out in the Charleston paper, The Post and Courier:

This week, archaeologists with the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum found a button on a Florida shipwreck that may help identify it as one of those ships that left Charleston in the waning days of the Revolutionary War.

Chuck Meide, archaeology director at the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, said divers found a button on the ship that appears to have the number “74” on it. That could identify it as a button of the uniform of a soldier in the British Army’s 74th Regiment, Campbell’s Highlanders.

That regiment helped evacuate Charleston more than two years after they took the city in the longest siege of the Revolution.

Meide said the button only reinforces the belief that they are excavating one of the lost Loyalist ships.

“It’s just like everything is really coming together, every piece we find,” Meide said.

We have since realized that what we thought was a 74 is actually a 71, which makes more sense as the 71st Regiment was in Charleston and evacuated on the last fleet to leave that city.

Read the entire article here, its great!

October 5, 2012

Day of Discovery, Part 2

LAMP Volunteer Karen Paradiso holding up her latest discovery!

Well, on Tuesday we had quite a day sorting through dredge spoil from the late 1700s Storm Wreck. We thought she was exceptionally lucky to find a coin in her first hour of sorting, on her first day. She must be, because she made another great find today!

Continue reading "Day of Discovery, Part 2" »

October 4, 2012

Button from shipwreck identifies it as Revolutionary War shipwreck

Check out this story in the local paper, the St. Augustine Record:

A corroded uniform button found in the mud off the St. Augustine Beach pier could be the “smoking gun” that leads to identifying a mystery shipwreck.

And the copper coin with a face of what could be Britain’s King George found by a Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program volunteer just adds to evidence that the wreck could be part of a British Revolutionary War fleet that fled Charleston in 1782.

Read the entire story, but note that at the time it was printed we has misinterpreted the button as having a "74" on it. It is actually a 71, but the significance is the same--the 71st Regiment was stationed in Charleston and evacuated on the last fleet to leave the city, the same fleet that lost 16 ships on the St. Augustine bar on December 31st, 1782.

October 3, 2012

Day of Discovery!!

The copper coin which was found by a volunteer when sorting through dredge spoil from this summer's excavations on the late 1700s Storm Wreck. And that wasn't the day's only exciting discovery . . .

Yesterday started out like any other day. I had a manager's meeting to attend, the other LAMPers were busy with various projects, and several volunteers were bustling about the office with projects of their own. Before I left the barracks for my meeting, I briefly chatted with a volunteer, Karen, who for her first time was going to sort through our dredge spoil. "Now, you'll probably find some lead shot from the shipwreck," I told her. "You may not find too much else. This can sometimes be a thankless, tedious job. But, you never know. You never know what you may find, you never know what great discovery you might make."

Boy, was I ever right!

Continue reading "Day of Discovery!!" »

October 1, 2012

Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar in Cortez, Florida

Posted by: Brendan Burke in Events, LAMPosts

HADS Attendees

I recently attended the Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar, a training session hosted by the Florida Public Archaeology Network and the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research. The goal of the program is to train dive leaders from around the state, from dive shops, and teachers about the value of submerged cultural heritage. Seminar organizers included Dr. Della Scott-Ireton (FPAN), who talked about the value of underwater sites and provided an overview of sites that have been destroyed by mismanagement, looting, and treasure hunting; Jeff Moates (FPAN), who provided a detailed history of the maritime lanscape around Tampa Bay; and Franklin Price (BAR) who provided an in-depth discussion of the laws and regulations established to protect underwater archaeological sites. The seminar was hosted at the Cortez Maritime Museum in the historic fishing community of Cortez. Located near Bradenton Beach, this small community has fought to preserve its strong fishing traditions and the sound of air nailers repairing stone crab pots resounded through the neighborhood as we walked around. On Saturday we dived the USS Narcissus, an army tug that sank on New Years Day in 1866 during a storm. The tug's boiler blew up and killed 29 out of 30 crewmen. It was one of the bloodiest ship losses suffered by the US Navy during the period of the Civil War. The Narcissus had taken part in the battle of Mobile Bay and had hit one of the 'damned' torpedoes that Adm. Farragut so vehemently despised. Click on this into to see pictures from the trip!

Continue reading "Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar in Cortez, Florida" »

Former LAMP Director Named State Underwater Archaeologist for North Carolina

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

Billy Ray Morris, who founded LAMP in 1999.

Former Director and founder of LAMP, Billy Ray Morris, recently accepted the job of North Carolina State Underwater Archaeologist. Morris will run the state's Underwater Archaeology Branch at Kure Beach, North Carolina.

From the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Newsroom:

His work at Cultural Resources will include expansion of the state’s shipwreck data files, and sharing that information with students and professional researchers. He will process permit applications for exploration of historic resources in state waters, and will also guide research on the Queen Anne’s Revenge shipwreck, and on numerous Civil War shipwrecks and other sites yet undiscovered.

Morris has worked for the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, and the Lighthouse Maritime Archaeological Program, which he founded and directed.

Billy Ray is a great archaeologist and will be a real benefit for the people of North Carolina. We wish him the best of luck in this new endeavor!