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

October 2013 Archives

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October 25, 2013

LAMP investigates beached shipwreck exposed by storm

LAMP archaeologists investigate a newly discovered shipwreck site on Ponte Vedra Beach. From left to right are LAMP Archaeological Conservator Starr Cox, LAMP Director Chuck Meide, Lighthouse staff Dennis Kirk, LAMP archaeologist Sam Turner, and volunteer Peggy Friedman, who discovered the shipwreck two days earlier.

Last Wednesday morning our friend Peggy Friedman, who volunteers with the local sea turtle patrol, was walking the beach looking for sea turtle nests when she encountered something unexpected--the old wooden bones of a shipwreck jutting out from the dunes. Earlier in the week a nor'easter storm had raked our coast, and caused massive erosion of the beach, so that the the seaward half of the sand dune had effectively been scooped away, exposing the remains of the shipwreck. Peggy told the scientists at the GTM-NERR (Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve), who have jurisdiction over this location, and they contacted me here at LAMP.

A quick visit to the site with the other LAMP archaeologists confirmed that this was indeed the remains of a beached ship. After this brief inspection on Thursday, we knew that we had to return the following day for a more thorough investigation of the wreckage, and our public relations coordinator, Shannon O'Neil, sent out a notification to the press. Boy was there interest! During our investigation on Friday I was interviewed no less than six times! We lot a lot of great press, and the links to videos and newspaper articles are included below the fold . . .

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October 1, 2013

LAMP research highlighted in Australian magazine


One of our former graduate students, Kyle Lent, recently published an article on his work with us in Flinders University's magazine Engage, the July 2013 edition. Flinders University is located in South Australia and we have worked with their faculty and students many times before (see here, and here). Kyle served as a Field School Supervisor during the 2012 season, and worked as a volunteer archaeologist for many months after that, until he got a job with the archaeological consulting firm SEARCH. He is one of our many success stories!

The entire issue of Engage is available as a pdf, and you can read it here. Below is a snippet, but by all means check out the entire article!

The final months of the American Revolution (1775-1781), were an exceptionally perplexing time for everyone involved. As British control over the colonies was diminishing, many loyalists looked to the horizon to flee what would soon be a new rule. East Florida’s inviting climate and its loyalty to the crown proved to be an enticing prospect. Based on many archaeological assumptions, supported by an equal amount of archaeological evidence, the Storm Wreck is, in all likeliness, an example of a colonial-era British loyalist refugee ship which attempted to flee Charleston, South Carolina, and met its demise while attempting to enter St Augustine at the end of, or shortly after, the Revolution.

230 years later, archaeologists cast off the dock lines of a former 36-foot steel hulled shrimping boat turned research vessel, set GPS navigation to the site coordinates, and put a fresh pot of coffee on the boil one early June morning. As the sun rises above the horizon, so the 2012 field season begins.

LAMP Boatworks featured in Canada's Classicboat Magazine

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


LAMP and the LAMP Boatworks is featured in the Fall 2013 issue of Classicboat Magazine, the publication of the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Antique and Classic Boat Society.

The article does not appear to be online, though the previous issue does feature its articles online, so it may appear there in the future. But I'll give you a little teaser here . . .

In addition to the Lighthouse, there are a number of smaller buildings on the site, and a few of those house the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) which conducts and studies old maritime wrecks. They bring artifacts up from their resting place on the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, and, in some cases, the wrecks are chemically and electrically stripped of their salt water scale and corrosion for study and documentation.

. . . . In 2007 a plan was put into motion to start up a volunteer group to build these small boats. Maury Keiser took up the challenge and the lead to assemble and start up a small group of volunteers. Like most groups, they evolved and found their way. Start up funds and continuing revenue sources are always an ongoing challenge. The idea was and still is to build a continuing and expanding group that, with experience, will develop a more complex skill set in traditional boatbuilding. As more volunteers enter the program, these skills are passed and shared.

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