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

January 2014 Archives

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January 24, 2014

Another great news story on our latest beached shipwreck

Posted by: Chuck Meide in In the News, LAMPosts

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Just a quick update to our previous blog entry on the Mickler's Landing Wreck, which had become re-exposed on the beach a few days before the start of the new year. We had lots of great media attention from this wreck, and while I was out of the country attending the Society for Historical Archaeology meetings in frigid Quebec City, another news story on the wreck came out in the Jacksonville paper.

From the Florida Times-Union:

More remnants from Northeast Florida’s nautical past have revealed themselves on Ponte Vedra Beach.

But while experts think they know when the wreck occurred, what ship it was is still a mystery.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum archaeologists waded into the waves last week to look at 80 feet of iron and timbers revealed during a New Year’s low tide near Mickler’s Landing. It appears to be a schooner from the 1860s into very early 1900s. It apparently met a tragic end during a 1947 storm if a fuzzy photograph of a two-masted ship beaching there proves to be this wreck, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program chief archaeologist Chuck Meide said.

“A schooner most certainly could have an iron frame and wooden planking,” Meide said. “It does have some iron plating on its bow, and that is a little strange. We haven’t seen any ship construction like that.”


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January 22, 2014

1/25-26/14: Sea Your History Event: Celebrating French History in St. Augustine

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

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The French arrive in Florida, from Theodor de Bry, Grand Voyages (1591)

Join us this weekend, Saturday January 25 - Sunday January 26 at the Lighthouse for our ongoing Sea Your History event! This weekend the focus is on French history and culture.

Our guest of honor is Dr. John de Bry, the Director of the Center for Historical Archaeology and an expert on French colonial archaeology and historical documents. On Sunday, Dr. de Bry and LAMP Director Chuck Meide will be available to meet the public from 3 pm to 4 pm at a table displaying a collection of rare French shipwreck artifacts, and they will present a lecture entitled "The French Fleet of 1565: Collision of Empires." This will focus on the French settlement attempt at Fort Caroline and Ribault’s colonization fleet which attacked St. Augustine and was wrecked in a storm south of our coast. Dr. de Bry and Meide will provide historical context for the well-known Theodor de Bry engravings, present the documentary research related to the lost fleet carried out in the French archives, and provide an update for LAMP’s search for these lost ships, scheduled to begin July 2014. Dr. de Bry is a direct descendant of Theodor de Bry, whose iconic engravings have brought the French settlement attempt to life for the rest of the world from the 16th century to the present day.

During and after Sunday's archaeological events (3 pm to 6 pm) there will be a French wine tasting courtesy of PRP Wines of Jacksonville!

Read below the fold for the full schedule of both Saturday's and Sunday's events!

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January 3, 2014

Mapping the Mickler's Landing Wreck at Ponte Vedra Beach

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LAMP staff and volunteers documented a beached shipwreck on 2 January 2014, our first shipwreck project of the new year!

On New Year's Day LAMP got a call from First Coast News reporter Jessica Clark. She had been contacted by a local Ponte Vedra Beach resident, Sharon Caruso, about a shipwreck exposed on the beach.

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A significant patch of wreckage was exposed in the surf which had been previously buried in the sand. At low tide the outline of a ship could be seen pretty clearly. First Coast News ran a story on the wreck that day:

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Carol Caruso likes to walk on Ponte Vedra Beach, but she hadn't been out in a few weeks. When she walked along the shore Tuesday, she saw something big.

With her hands held out wide, she said, "This is what I found at low tide!"

It appears to be the skeleton of a ship, right where the waves hit the beach.

"I've been looking at it for two years," Caruso explained but she's never seen so much of it coming out of the sand.

"Generally it's just that point, literally that point sticking up and that's it. So I thought this had to be something special," she beamed.

The ribs of the ship appear to be jutting out from the beach above the waves.

. . . Archaeologists with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (or L.A.M.P.) in St. Augustine have been out to the site before, studying it. However, after seeing pictures of the ship Wednesday, archaeologist Brenden Burke said he and the L.A.M.P. team have never seen so much of the ship exposed.

Burke explained that parts of the ship have been revealed three times in the last six years.

The very next day, LAMP sprung into action, and a group of archaeologists, students, and volunteers assembled on the beach at the start of low tide to document the newly exposed portions of the wreck.

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