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


March 17, 2014

3/18/2014: Lecture--How Greek Traditions Transformed St. Augustine's Waterfront

Posted by: Chuck Meide

What: Lecture, "How Greek Traditions Transformed the Waterfront"
Who: Brendan Burke, LAMP Archaeologist
When: Tuesday March 18th, 2014, at 7 pm
Where: Flagler Room, Flagler College, 74 King Street, St. Augustine
How much: Free admission, seating is limited

LAMP's own Brendan Burke will be presenting the final of four lectures in the Historic St. Augustine Research Institute's series "St. Augustine's Forgotten People." Be sure to show up early, they fill the room and have to turn folks away.

January 22, 2014

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

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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 John de Bry, the Director of the Center for Historical Archaeology and an expert on French colonial archaeology and historical documents.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!

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

November 6, 2013

6/11/2013: "Shrimp Boat City" book launching

Posted by: Chuck Meide


April 9, 2013

LAMP and UNF Partner in Historic Shipbuilding Class

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Almost there! Class participants (minus one student) show off their progress.

This spring LAMP has partnered with the University of North Florida to teach a class called The History of Shipbuilding. LAMP's Sam Turner teaches the Tuesday lecture and Brendan Burke teaches a Thursday lab. In the class students are learning about vessel construction from the times of the ancient Phoenicians to our nuclear navy. On Thursdays the students meet in the lab and have been working to learn how to properly construct a ship's half model. The process of learning how to build a half model is an invaluable part of learning how vessels are designed and how the complex lines of a boat interact with water, gravity, and motion. A secondary part of the class is learning to use some basic hand tools that require the user to go slowly and think about the pending accomplishment. As we are about to wrap up the class I thought I'd offer some commentary on how it has progressed.

Continue reading "LAMP and UNF Partner in Historic Shipbuilding Class" »

October 1, 2012

Heritage Awareness Diving Seminar in Cortez, Florida

Posted by: Brendan Burke

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" »

September 19, 2012

9/19/2012 Lecture: Atlantic World Impact of African Religions on Christianity

Posted by: Chuck Meide

What: Lecture, Atlantic World Impact of African Religions on Christianity
Who: Dr. John Sensbach
Where: Anastasia Gallery (upstairs Keepers' House), St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
When: Wednesday, September 19th, 2012, 7:00-9:00 pm

On September 19th, Dr. John Sensbach of the University of Florida will share examples of the Atlantic World Impact of African Religions on Christianity, both in the alterations of worship habits and the cultural impact of Europeans and Americans. This is funded by the Florida Humanities The time is from 7:00pm – 9:00pm. This event is free and open to the public and will be held in the Anastasia Gallery at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

August 27, 2012

CrabTrap Roundup a Grand Success!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum staffmember August Ellis freeing fish and other marine critters rescued from a derelict crabtrap on Saturday's Roundup and Waterway Cleanup.

The 2012 CrabTrap Roundup and Waterway Cleanup was a great success on Saturday. This event was sponsored and organized by LAMP and the Lighthouse, along with the Tower Club, our new support group made up of young professionals.

From the St. Augustine Record:

Dozens of volunteers searched the Tolomato, Matanzas and San Sebastian rivers as well as other areas and brought their finds back to one of three boat ramps that served as collection sites.

By the end of the day, around 60 volunteers had removed 30 traps and an estimated 1,500 pounds of trash from local waterways, said Brendan Burke, an archaeologist with the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, which co-hosted the event. Around a dozen of those traps came from the San Sebastian River.

Lost or abandoned crab traps continue to trap wildlife as long as they are in the water and can cause many fish and other creatures to die, officials said. The traps also clutter the water and can be a hazard for boaters and people.

Fishermen can lose crab traps during storms and other events, Burke said.

“Every derelict crab trap that we removed, we’re saving hundreds if not thousands of marine animals that would have perished inside them,” he said.

Way to go, Brendan and August, for taking the lead in organizing this event, and way to go to the many volunteers from our community who participated in this great waterway cleanup!

August 25, 2012

2012 Crab Trap Roundup & Waterway Cleanup!

Posted by: Brendan Burke


As a sentinel of our waterways the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum is proud to announce the 2012 Crab Trap Roundup and Waterway Cleanup! This event, hosted by the Tower Club, a support organization of the Lighthouse, will leave our waterways cleaner, happier, and healthier. See the poster for details and we hope to see you out there on the waters this Saturday! Don't forget too, that there is an informational Captain's Meeting at Conch House Marina on Friday evening from 6:00-8:00pm.

Many thanks to our sponsors, especially the Florida Inland Navigation District, the St. Augustine Port, Waterway, and Beach District, and Conch House Marina & Resort!!

The waterways are divided into three zones with a boat ramp designated for trash collection at each ramp. The northern zone's ramp is the Usina Boat Ramp, the central zone's ramp is the Lighthouse Boat Ramp, and the southern zone's ramp is the Butler Boat Ramp. Click on the maps below the fold to see each zone.

Continue reading "2012 Crab Trap Roundup & Waterway Cleanup!" »

July 15, 2012

7/15-20/2012 Sonar Workshop

Posted by: Chuck Meide


UPDATE: The 2012 Sonar Training Workshop was a great success! Class participants not only learned the basics of deploying and using the sonar in the field, of crunching data and manipulating and mosaicking sonar imagery, but they actually discovered a new archaeological site in the form of an old 19th century anchor! If you are interested in this training experience, contact us and let us know, we can arrange customized dates to fit your schedule.

Sonar Training Workshop (July 15-20 2012)

This class will indoctrinate the student on the basic principles of archaeological underwater survey using sidescan sonar technology. Through the one-week course, a series of classroom and field experiences will demonstrate and directly involve students in the procedures of establishing a survey plan and enacting it. After learning how to gather data, then collecting it, students will learn how to mosaic sidescan imagery and create a deliverable product used for analysis and presentation. By the end of the course, each student will have operated a sidescan sonar, used it to identify underwater features, and helped compile an acoustic survey report.

Continue reading "7/15-20/2012 Sonar Workshop" »

June 4, 2012

2012 Underwater Archaeology Field School

Posted by: Chuck Meide


The 2012 Field School in Maritime Archaeology will run from June 4 to June 29, 2012. Each year LAMP sponsors this internationally acclaimed opportunity for training in maritime and underwater archaeology. Students from universities across the U.S. and abroad will come to learn these specialized skills by working side by side with LAMP archaeologists. Participants will be instructed in scientific diving procedures, archaeological recording and excavation, the use of hydraulic probes and induction dredges, marine remote sensing survey and analysis (magnetometer & side scan sonar), artifact collection and documentation and basic conservation laboratory methodology. The field school will also host an evening lecture series with field school instructors and visiting professionals from various public, private and academic institutions throughout Florida.

Follow the links below for more information, or continue reading after the fold . . .

Click here to see the official webpage for the 2012 Field School, with complete information on activities, lodging, applications, paperwork, etc.

Click here to see an article on the field school in the Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times Union.

Continue reading "2012 Underwater Archaeology Field School" »

May 23, 2012

LAMP Hosts New ArchaeoTours

Posted by: Chuck Meide


LAMP has been working hard at developing a new program to share our archaeological discoveries with the public. The new Lost Ships ArchaeoTours program was recently announced in the Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times-Union.

From the Times-Union:

Learn more about the lost ships of St. Augustine as the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program hosts Archaeo Tours, a 90-minute tour into parts of the historic light station and maritime archaeology laboratory facilities.

The tours are guided by a lighthouse archaeologist who explores the ships wrecked off the coast of the nation's oldest port. The tours include information on how archaeologists excavate each underwater site as they find artifacts untouched by human hands for centuries.

Information on "Storm Wreck," the program's most recently excavated shipwreck, is also part of the tour as is an insider's look at how these artifacts are conserved.

The tours include a multimedia presentation that dives even deeper underwater to investigate wrecks off the coast of St. Augustine. The historic Keepers' House and the 160-foot-tall lighthouse are open for participants after the tours, as are refreshments.

The Lost Ships Archaeo Tours are held three times per day on Mondays and Fridays. Visit www.staugustinelighthouse.org to review tour times, with others scheduled for groups or large parties with advanced notice. Reservations are required, $48 per ticket, at (904) 829-0745 or www.staugustinelighthouse.org.

For more information, check out the Lost Ships ArchaeoTours page!

April 26, 2012

4/26/2012 Volunteer Barbeque and Introduction to our New Volunteer Coordinator, Loni Wellman

Posted by: Chuck Meide

What: Volunteer Appreciation Barbeque
Where: Front lawn of the Keeper's House, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
When: Thursday, 26 April 2012 from 12:30 to 2:30 pm
Who: All Lighthouse and LAMP volunteers are invited to welcome our new Volunteer Coordinator, Loni Wellman!

We are having a Thank You Barbeque for all volunteers on April 26 from 12:30 until 2:30 here at the Lighthouse front lawn. Come enjoy yummy barbeque (slow-cooked by our own Rick and Lee) and great company! Volunteers will receive a small thank you gift from the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. This will also be an opportunity for everyone to meet Loni, our new Volunteer Coordinator.

After a lengthy search and grueling interview process, we are pleased to announce Loni Wellman as our new Volunteer and Special Projects Coordinator. She will start with the team Monday, April 23, 2012. Loni earned her M.A. in Museum Studies from Johns Hopkins University and her B.A. in history from Flagler College. She has worked at several museums in various capacities, including the Children’s Museum of Memphis, Art and History Museums-Maitland, Orlando Science Center, and the Center for Science and Industry, Toledo. Her experience will be an asset to the organization, and her enthusiasm will undoubtedly be contagious!

We would also like to extend a big THANK YOU to our dedicated and long-time volunteer Lee McConkey for providing his time and input as part of the interview and selection team.

April 25, 2012

4/25/2012 Lecture: Why a Chalupa?

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: Lecture, "Why a Chalupa?"
Where: St. Augustine Yacht Club
When: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 5:00-6:30 pm
Who: Dr. Sam Turner, LAMP
Food: Beverages and light dinner available for purchase

This lecture is co-sponsored by the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, and LAMP and the First Light Maritime Society. Dr. Sam Turner will be speaking about our joint project, to build an archaeologically and historically authentic replica of a sixteenth century watercraft used by the first Spanish settlers in St. Augustine.

April 24, 2012

The Bounty Comes to St. Augustine!

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Tomorrow morning, sometime around 0800, the tall ship Bounty should be arriving off the St. Augustine Inlet and preparing to sail into Matanzas Bay. She is a replica of the well-known British naval vessel which saw the infamous mutiny against Captain Bligh in 1789. Drawing 13 feet of water, she will have to wait for the high tide in order to enter the harbor and cross under the Bridge of Lions and dock at the City Marina, where the public can tour her decks on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

From the St. Augustine Record:

The HMS Bounty, a replica of one of the most famous ships in the world, was built for the 1962 MGM movie, “Mutiny on the Bounty” starring Marlon Brando and Trevor Howard. The Bounty has also appeared in several other motion pictures over the years, including “Treasure Island,” and two of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” movies starring Johnny Depp.

The Bounty, which has just begun its 2012 East Coast tour, will come through the St. Augustine Inlet, possibly as early as Wednesday, and tie up at the St. Augustine Municipal Marina, where she will be available to the public for tours Friday through Sunday.

Continue reading "The Bounty Comes to St. Augustine!" »

April 16, 2012

LAMP Boatworks Update

Posted by: Brendan Burke

The most recent project at the LAMP Boatworks. Foreground left is the Chaisson dory tender, a 17' spritsail skiff to right, and a 1760s ship's yawl in the background.

A quick update, since I’ve been remiss in sending one for a while. I hope this finds you all in kindred spirits and enjoying this fine weather. Things around the boatworks have been heating up this spring and continue to simmer at a solid pace.

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Update" »

March 23, 2012

3/23/2012 Museum Gala: Legado

Posted by: Chuck Meide

What: Legado, a Gala celebrating our Spanish-American maritime heritage
Where: St. Johns County Visitor's Center, 10 South Castillo Drive, St. Augustine, Florida 32084
When: Friday, March 23, 2012, 6:30-10:30 pm
Dress: Black tie, or period costume
Highlights: Live music and dancing, with a performance by Museo Interactivo from Malaga, Spain; Silent Auction; Vignettes performed from the historical drama "Madness of King George"

For more information and ticket sales click here

All proceeds from this event go towards the work of the First Light Maritime Society, including continued LAMP archaeological research.

March 22, 2012

3/22/2012 Chalupa Keel Laying at Fountain of Youth

Posted by: Chuck Meide

On Thursday, 22 March, an event was held at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, north of the Lighthouse on the mainland in St. Augustine. It was a celebration of the start of a new boat construction project. LAMP is supporting this project by providing our partners at the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation and the Fountain of Youth with data from our archaeological and historical research into the traditional Spanish boat known as a Chalupa. Many of the volunteer boatbuilders from LAMP Boatworks will be participating in the project, and several of them along with LAMP's Dr. Sam Turner are spearheading the project.

The program was a great success and you can read more about it in the St. Augustine Record.

March 17, 2012

3/17/2012 Festival: 20th Annual Lighthouse Festival

Posted by: Chuck Meide

What: 20th Annual Lighthouse Festival
When: Saturday, March 17, 2012, from 11 am to 6 pm
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse
Highlights: Free admission, food, drink, pony rides, bouncy house, live entertainment, archaeology tables with artifact displays, boatbuilding and other crafts for kids, 5K run, and more!

February 24, 2012

LAMP Documentary "Search for the Jefferson Davis" to be Featured at the Amelia Island Film Festival this Saturday, February 24th, 2012

Posted by: Chuck Meide


We were excited to hear that our documentary, "The Search for the Jefferson Davis," had been selected as a featured film at the 4th annual Amelia Island Film Festival held this week. We have blogged many times before about this exciting and historically significant shipwreck, which has such a rich and dynamic history and continues to elude archaeologists.

The film will be showed at 1:00 pm on Saturday, February 25, at the Anchor in Fernandina Beach. The Anchor is located at Centre St. and N 6th St., Fernandina Beach, FL, 32035.

Click on the video below to watch the trailer!

February 3, 2012

Get behind the scenes...

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Jacksonville.com published a nice piece about our behind the scenes tours here at the Museum. If you haven't take one of the tours, they are well worth it. See how the museum works, how we are learning about our past from artifacts buried in the seafloor, and learn about the many things which go on behind the veil to keep our history alive and exciting. Even if you have visited the lighthouse before, or recently, come back for this experience. Visit our webpage too, for more information on how to get involved, for more on our other tours and opportunities, and learn how to contribute to our museum. Read on for more information!

CLICK HERE for the link.

Many thanks to Dan Scanlan for this nice article!

November 9, 2011

11/09/2011: Galveztown Replica Project Conference

Posted by: Chuck Meide


The Galveztown Replica Project Conference is this afternoon here at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, with lecturers from as far away as Spain assembling to discuss this exciting project. The Galveztown was the American Revolution-era sailing brig that under the command of Bernardo de Galvez lead the expedition that captured Pensacola, thus taking both West and East Florida from the British during America's War of Independence. A team of shipwrights at the Astilleros Nereo shipyard in Malaga, Spain are planning on building a full-scale replica of this historic vessel.

September 7, 2011

The 446th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Augustine Reenactment

Posted by: Chuck Meide


As discussed in an earlier blog post, Menendez made first landfall on our shore on September 7th, exactly 446 years ago today, and on the following day he formally founded the settlement that would last, becoming the oldest city and port in the nation.

This momentous occasion is being celebrated this year on Saturday, September 10th, with an exciting annual heritage event. Hosted by our friends at Florida Living History, Inc along with the Mission Nombre de Dios, the planned activities include:

• the historical re-enactment of Admiral Don Pedro Menéndez de Avilés’ landing in 1565.
• a grand procession to the Mission Nombre de Dios Museum following the Mass of Thanksgiving.
• a lecture on the founding of St. Augustine by Dr. Michael Gannon will follow the Mass and procession.

More information on the event is below . . .

Continue reading "The 446th Anniversary of the Founding of St. Augustine Reenactment" »

April 21, 2011

LAMP Boatworks at the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival

Posted by: Brendan Burke

panorama copy.jpg

The late afternoon waterfront was still and flesh-warm. Only broken by the splash of a jumping mullet or the sudden outburst from a seagull, the glassy waterscape seeped Old Florida. Wooden docks askew from storms and time kept silent fishing boats bowing slowly to their slack moorings. This was, and is, the fishing village of Cortez, Florida. I stood with Matt Hanks on an old floating dock looking out over the panorama and letting the tension of a four and a half hour drive ease away. We were there to bring the good news of our lighthouse boatbuilding program to the Gulf coast, to learn about what other programs are doing, and to show off the William A. Harn, the first boat built by LAMP Boatworks. Follow along to learn more about LAMP Boatworks and the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival!

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks at the Florida Gulf Coast Small Craft Festival" »

March 31, 2011

Pier 17 Benefit for Lighthouse and LAMP!

Posted by: Brendan Burke


Pier 17 Marine, Inc. has been supplying boaters in Jacksonville and the south for many decades. Their community service and neighborliness has been a mark of their service to the area and as everyone who has shopped there knows, friendliness and good customer service is their trademark. Boaters also know too, that if they have an obscure part that needs replacing and have exhausted all other resources, Pier 17 will have it. Cynthia Seagrave, owner of Pier 17 has an annual sale, ranging from 48%-84% discounts throughout the store. The sale starts on April 4th and runs through the 8th. A nautical flea market is hosted on Saturday and is in the parking lot for Pier 17 Marine, so be sure to go and see good deals, both old and new!

Each year, Pier 17 Marine selects a nonprofit to support for each day of the sale. This year, the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum/LAMP has been selected as the sponsored nonprofit for Saturday!! We are very excited, and grateful to have been gifted such a nice opportunity. Thank you Pier 17 Marine!! We will have a display table set up for the event as well as the Susan skiff on display, our most recently completed LAMP Boatworks boat. Be sure to get your tickets to take a chance in our drawing to win this handsome little wooden boat.

Pier 17 Marine is located at 4619 Roosevelt Blvd, Jacksonville. It is right beside the Rt. 17 Ortega River Bridge, and adjacent to Sadler Point Marina. See you there!

March 18, 2011

19th Annual Lighthouse Festival and JSL 5K

Posted by: Beau Phillips

Date: March 19
Time: 11-6
Admission: FREE
Parking: paid parking at the site
free parking and shuttle from the Elk's Lodge
Sponsors: Tourist Development Council, Bank of St. Augustine, Picolata Farms

Join thousands when the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum opens it's doors during this annual tradition celebrating our maritime history. Children must be 44" Tall to climb the tower and children under 12 year-old must be accompanied by an adult.

What to do
Junior Service League 5K (must register)
Climb the Tower
Explore the Museum
Bouncy House & Slide (Requires tickets)
Build & Float Sailboat (Requires tickets)
Pony Rides (Requires tickets)
Facebook Photo Booth (NEW & FREE)
2nd Annual Wooden Boat Show
Children's Crafts

Continue reading "19th Annual Lighthouse Festival and JSL 5K" »

February 24, 2011

3/19/2011: Boat Show 2011!

Posted by: Brendan Burke

Click the poster to make it bigger.

We are pleased to announce the 2011 LAMP Boatworks Boat Show, to be held on Saturday, March 19th. This is part of the annual St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Lighthouse Festival. Last year we had a very nice collection of traditional watercraft show up from all over Florida. This year is our second year including a boat show as part of the Lighthouse Festival and we are looking forward to it! Boats we seek include traditional watercraft powered by sail, oar, or engine. This includes wooden boats built using traditional plans, methods, and/or materials. This is a fun event and if you have not visited our museum, it is open to the public for free on Festival day and we routinely host 5,000 or more visitors every year.

Continue reading "3/19/2011: Boat Show 2011!" »

January 20, 2011

LAMP Boatworks Celebrates a New Launch!

Posted by: Brendan Burke


For the past several months volunteers at the LAMP Boatworks have been diligently working on the building of our eight hull, a boat type called the ‘Susan’. Designed by Robert M. Steward in the 1950s, this classic little boat got her feet wet this morning at the hands of the lead builders, Richard Sexauer and Steve McMullen .

Continue reading "LAMP Boatworks Celebrates a New Launch!" »

November 27, 2010

11/27/2010 Event: Crew of HMS Falcon 18th Century Naval Reenactment

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: 18th century British Royal Navy reenactment
Who: The crew of HMS Falcon
When: Saturday, November 27th, 9:00 am to 6:00 pm
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

Come visit the Lighthouse on Saturday and enjoy the colorful characters of the crew of HMS Falcon, a local group of reenactors. They are a group of interpretive history volunteers reenacting mainly at the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monuments in St. Augustine, Florida. They portray British sailors during the American War of Independence, during which time Florida was held by England, under the Treaty of Paris. They will be here all day long, singing chanteys and interpreting maritime history from a Royal Navy seaman's point of view.

Photograph of the Falcon crewmembers courtesy of monalisa1492.

November 3, 2010

11/03/2010 Lecture: "Harvesting the Wind at Sea"

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Presentation Title: Harvesting the Wind at Sea: Evolution of Sailing Vessels from Ancient Seafaring to the Twentieth Century
Speaker: Dr. David Switzer, LAMP Research Associate and Professor Emeritus of History at Plymouth State University
When: Wednesday, November 3rd, 7:00 to 8:00 pm
Where: Anastasia Galley (upstairs in Keepers' House), St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

Free and open to the public!

Continue reading "11/03/2010 Lecture: "Harvesting the Wind at Sea"" »

March 29, 2010

3/28/2010 Blessing of the Fleet

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Father Tom Willis, pastor of the Cathedral-Basilica of St. Augustine, offers blessing to the research vessel Desmond Valdes during the annual Palm Sunday ceremony.

For the first time, LAMP participated in St. Augustine's traditional Blessing of the Fleet ceremony yesterday. This tradition, which once saw hundreds of trawlers decorated with flags gathering in Matanzas Bay in hopes of a bountiful shrimp harvest, has been carried out in St. Augustine since at least 1946, and draws thousands of spectators to St. Augustine every Palm Sunday. This year LAMP's research vessel Desmond Valdes, with two LAMP archaeologists and two generations of the Valdes family on board, took its place in line and received a blessing along with dozens of other commercial and recreational boats.

Continue reading "3/28/2010 Blessing of the Fleet" »

March 17, 2010

3/17-20/10 Fourth Annual Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology

Posted by: Chuck Meide


The 2010 Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology will be held from March 17 through March 20th. As usual, the Symposium will feature speakers from around the country who will give presentations related to underwater archaeology and maritime history research projects in St. Augustine and around the world. This year we are partnering with the St. Augustine Historical Society to bring you "St. Augustine and the Sea II," the sequel to St. Augustine and the Sea symposium in February. After three days of presentations, the Symposium culminates in the 18th annual Lighthouse Maritime Festival.

Continue reading "3/17-20/10 Fourth Annual Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology" »

February 26, 2010

2/26-27/2010 St. Augustine and the Sea!

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Join us this Friday and Saturday, February 26-27, as we celebrate the rich maritime history of our nation's oldest port. The St. Augustine and the Sea symposium is sponsored by the St. Augustine Historical Society, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, and the City of St. Augustine. All events are free and open to the public!

For a full schedule of speakers, please continue reading below . . .

Continue reading "2/26-27/2010 St. Augustine and the Sea!" »

December 9, 2009

12/09/09 Presentation: Discover First America Lecture Series "Pirates! Fact and Fiction"

Posted by: Brendan Burke


Presentation Title: Blood in the Inlet: St. Augustine and its History With Pirates
Speaker: Brendan Burke, LAMP
When: THIS WEDNESDAY, December 9th, 7:00 to 9:00 pm
Where: Flagler Auditorium (west of the Lightner Museum), St. Augustine

Continue reading "12/09/09 Presentation: Discover First America Lecture Series "Pirates! Fact and Fiction"" »

October 27, 2009

Lighthouse and the Coast Guard Partner to Clean Sweep.

Posted by: Brendan Burke


The LAMP corral is much improved thanks to...the US Coast Guard?! No, we weren't issued a citation for being hazardous to navigation but it certainly looks like there are preparations for an inspection. Over a couple weekends, we have been working with a solid bunch of guys who are in the process of becoming the Coast Guard's newest addition to the Goat Locker.

Continue reading "Lighthouse and the Coast Guard Partner to Clean Sweep." »

October 7, 2009

10/07/09 Home School Days Program: "Shipwreck Discovery"

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Home School Days Presentation Title: "Shipwreck Discovery"
Speaker: Education Department and LAMP staff
When: Wednesday, October 7th, 2009, at 10:00 am and 1:00 pm
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
Who's Invited: This activity, which addresses Sunshine Standards and is appropriate for ages 2-17, is part of our Home School Days program. If you are a home schooler and are interested in participating in this or other home school programs at the Lighthouse, please call Director of Education Chris Kastle at 904-829-0745.

Wednesday's Home School program will consist of three individual activities at pre-arranged stations. Station Two will consist of "Basics of Underwater Archeology," in which LAMP archaeologists will demonstrate the use of a variety of equipment used by underwater archeologists, discuss what it is exactly that underwater archeologists do, and will also talk about current LAMP projects. Click here to learn more about the October 7th Home School Days Shipwreck Discovery Program, including a brief discussion of all three stations.

September 1, 2009

09/01/09 Presentation: "Florida's Fleet: An Ebb Tide of Shrimping"

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Presentation Title:
Florida's Fleet: An Ebb Tide of Shrimping
Speaker: Brendan Burke
Time: Tuesday, September 1st, 2009, 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Place: Flagler Room, Flagler College, downtown St. Augustine

Join Brendan Burke, Maritime Archaeologist at LAMP (Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program) in St. Augustine, as he presents the findings of a recent oral history and archival research project concerning the area's long and active shrimping and shrimp boat building industries.

April 13, 2009

Easter Parade!! Keeping Our Shrimping Heritage Alive in America's Oldest Port

Posted by: Chuck Meide


For the first time ever, LAMP and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum hosted a float in the annual St. Augustine Easter Parade! Our theme was Shrimping in Our Nation's Oldest Port, and to this end we towed a wooden boat with classic lines rigged in a manner reminiscent of traditional shrimp trawlers of the 1920s and 30s, the dawn of the shrimping era in St. Augustine. Not only did we have a great time, we proved a big hit with the crowd! Join us below to see some pictures of this really fun day. You never know what LAMP and the Lighthouse will be doing to keep our maritime heritage alive in America's oldest port!

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March 25, 2009

3/25/09-3/27/09 The 3rd Annual Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology

Posted by: Chuck Meide



The 2009 Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology will be held at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum in America's oldest port, St. Augustine, Florida, from March 25 to March 27, 2009.

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March 12, 2009

3/12/09 Presentation: Before the Wreck: The Intimate Life of a Pilot Schooner

Posted by: Brendan Burke


Presentation Title: Before the Wreck: The Intimate Life of a Pilot Schooner
Speaker: Brendan Burke
Time: Thursday, March 12th, 7:00 pm
Place: Anastasia Gallery (upstairs in Keeper's House), St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

You are invited to attend a talk based on my recent experience aboard the schooner Virginia, a 126' replica Chesapeake Bay pilot schooner. Owned by the Virginia Maritime Heritage Organization, Virginia sails as the goodwill ambassador ship for the Commonwealth of Virginia. I was recently invited to guest-crew aboard her for a trip to Miami from Jacksonville, where she was recently berthed for winter layup. Aboard her, I spent a great amount of time talking with the crew and captain about her rigging, sailing, construction, and how she fits into the VMHA's mission to preserve the maritime heritage of the Chesapeake Bay. Join us for an evening of tales on the high seas!

The talk will be held in the SALH Gallery at 7:00 on Thursday, March 12th and should last about 45 minutes. Coffee and water will be provided. See you there!

November 14, 2008

11/13-14/2008 Blacksmithing Demonstration at the Lighthouse

Posted by: Chuck Meide


What: Blacksmithing demonstration with a traditional forge. Items to be made include boat fasteners (spikes, nails, etc.), chain, oyster knives, etc.
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, by the LAMP Boatworks boatbuilding station
When: Thursday and Friday, November 13-14, 2008, 10 am - 4 pm
Who: Sam Turner, LAMP Director of Archaeology, and Brendan Burke, LAMP Archaeologist & Logistical Coordinator
For more information click here

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November 11, 2008

Honoring Those Who Served

Posted by: Chuck Meide

An honor guard of four French jets fly overhead during the dedication of the only monument to the U.S. Navy servicemen participating in the D-Day invasion. LAMP and St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Board member Captain Greg Streeter spearheaded the effort to establish this memorial at Utah Beach, Normandy, some 64 years after the heroic assault.

Every Veteran's Day, we at the Lighthouse are committed to fulfilling one of the most important aspects of our mission, to honor those who have served our country. As an aid to navigation and a sentinel facing the Atlantic, the Lighthouse has always had a military function, especially during times of war. During World War II, the Lighthouse served as a center of U.S. Coast Guard activity, and was manned by lookouts on guard for enemy U-boats. In recent months, another link between the Lighthouse and our WWII maritime heritage has been established, through the efforts of our Board member, retired U.S. Navy Captain Greg Streeter.

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November 8, 2008

11/08/08 Lecture: Maritime History of St. Augustine

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Lecture Title: Maritime History of St. Augustine
Presented by: Brendan Burke, LAMP Archaeologist and Logistical Coordinator
When: Saturday, November 8th, 2008, at 2:00 pm
Where: Anastasia Island Branch Library, in the Large Meeting Room (click here for map)
For further information call: 904-209-3730
Click here to download a flier promoting this event.

October 29, 2008

10/29/08 Lecture: Amphoras: Silent Observers of Ancient Maritime History

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Lecture Title: Amphoras: Silent Observers of Ancient Maritime History
Speaker: Dr. David Switzer, Plymouth State University
Where: St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Keeper's House Gallry
When: Wednesday, October 29, 2008, 7:00 pm
RSVP: Please contact Sara Hansen by email or phone at 904-829-0745
Download flier promoting this event

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October 17, 2008

10/17-18/08 Florida Maritime Heritage Association Meeting

Posted by: Chuck Meide


UPDATED with new information, please see schedule below . . .

The second annual meeting of the Florida Maritime Heritage Association will be held in America's Oldest Port at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, sponsored by the Museum and its research institution, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), on October 17-18, 2008. Anyone associated with a Florida maritime museum, university anthropology/history department or maritime studies program, consulting company, preservation group, government agency, or any other maritime heritage organization is welcome to attend. This blog posting will serve as the official online source of information about the upcoming conference.

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June 21, 2008

ACTION ALERT!!! Help Stop Treasure Hunting in Florida Waters!

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Word is spreading about an opportunity that might lead to the end of state-sanctioned treasure hunting in Florida waters, but the time to act is now!. We encourage everyone who cares about Florida history and archaeology to visit a public comment webpage the state has established in conjunction with their proposed new 1A-31 regulations for treasure hunting. While these rules are a step in the right direction, they do not go far enough. We’d like to send the message to Tallahassee loud and clear that treasure hunting is detrimental to our state’s great archaeological heritage and that it should be banned outright.

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May 13, 2008

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

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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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March 31, 2008

04/15/08 Public Meeting for National Maritime Heritage Area

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

National Maritime Heritage Area Workshop


Please join us for a National Heritage Area Feasibility Workshop
(Feel free to bring a brown bag lunch.)

Tuesday, April 15, 2008 - 12:30 pm until 5:00 pm
GTM NERR Environmental Education Center
505 Guana River Road
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida 32080

RSVP requested by April 11, 2008
Contact Pam Troll at 904-829-0745, ext 224 or

March 27, 2008

The 2008 Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology

Posted by: Chuck Meide


As Florida Archaeology Month (March) draws to a close, I'd like to reflect on LAMP's biggest public archaeology event, the annual Northeast Florida Symposium on Maritime Archaeology. We sponsored, along with the Lighthouse, the GTM Research Reserve, FPAN, and a number of other supporters, this Symposium for the first time last year. As successful as that inaugural effort was, this year's meeting--from March 12th to the 15th--was even greater!

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March 6, 2008

Boat Launch a Yo Ho Ho Success!

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

Last Friday night was a wonderful Boat Launch Event, as we launched the Bevin Skiff now christened the William A. Harn, after Lighthouse Keeper William Harn, a man who was at Ft. Sumter as member of the Union army when it was fired upon. This small skiff, designed in New England was perfect for Harn, whose family might have kept such a craft for bringing in supplies from Steam boats named Fern and Armeria, when they docked on what is now Salt Run. This boat is the first finished product of our recently established traditional boatbuilding program, LAMP Boatworks.

UPDATED! More pictures and video below the fold . . .

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March 5, 2008

03/06/08 Lecture: Maritime Archaeology in Portarlington, Australia

Posted by: Chuck Meide


The first of the First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project lecture series for 2008 will take place at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum on Thursday, March 6, at 6 pm. LAMP Director of Archaeology Dr. Sam Turner will present a slideshow lecture titled "Maritime Archaeology in Portarlington, Australia."

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February 19, 2008

Can You Help Grow our Community Service at the Lighthouse and LAMP?

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

The Lighthouse would love to have you as a member of our Founding Lights Family. You can make a difference.

It takes a great many of us working together to keep the Light Station strong. It takes all our support to keep the lighthouse preserve and programs going.

Today, we are about $25,000 short of having $350,000 dollars in our small, but growing endowment fund. Why is $350,000 the magic number? Well, when we hit $350,000, then we can apply for another $250,000 from the State of Florida. And that will help us a great deal. It makes us more secure, more stable in a world where changes happen and surprises hit us with new things to repair. It makes us more able to continue wonderful community services like those so many enjoy.

Our Founding Lights Campaign helps preserve and keep alive our story for generations. Fifty percent of every Founding Lights pledge becomes part of the endowment. This money is not ever spent, but and stablity and generates interest that supports programs and our restoration efforts. The remaining funds are put to good use right away.

Won't you help protect the lighthouse? Won't you help save our maritime heritage?

Please join us as a Founding Light!

The Levels Founding Lights: $1,000 per year for five years - Leadership level Legacy Circle: $500 per year for five years - Recognition in a special annual ceremony here and up. Heritage Club: $250 per year for five years Guardians: $100 per year for five years
Find a Pledge Form at this link: http://www.staugustinelighthouse.com/foundinglights.php.

Or call us here at the Lighthouse 904 829-0745.

Kathy Fleming
Executive Director

December 5, 2007

Slide Show From the Far Past to the Recent Past

Posted by: Kathy Fleming

November 8, 2007

The First Gathering of the Florida Maritime Heritage Association in Cortez, Florida

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Cortez is a tiny fishing village near Bradenton Beach, south of Tampa. Founded in the 1880s by watermen and fisher folk from North Carolina, this town is truly unique and hosts a vibrant maritime community. The maritime theme is explicit on the local landscape--I hadn't spent five minutes in town before seeing rudders, anchors, buoys, nets, and other maritime paraphernalia prominently on display in front yards. This town, with its rich commercial fishing history and working waterfront, was a perfect place to host a conference on maritime heritage. In late October, Sam and I traveled to Cortez to attend this meeting, the first attempt in over 20 years to gather all of those parties interested in preserving Florida's maritime past.


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October 22, 2007

10/25/07 Lecture: The Early Days of Nautical Archaeology

Posted by: Chuck Meide

UPDATED with pictures from the event included below . . .


Dr. Switzer, a pioneer in the field of nautical archaeology, will be talking about three early projects he was closely involved with. The techniques developed on these sites in the 1960s and 1970s led directly to the methods used today by LAMP archaeologists exploring shipwrecks off St. Augustine, our nation's oldest port.

(UPDATED with pictures from the talk below)

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March 30, 2007

The 2007 Northeast Florida Symposium on Underwater Archaeology

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Well, it is finally over, after weeks of working around the clock, but what a success!! LAMP and the Lighthouse hosted our first ever archaeological symposium, in partnership with the GTM-NERR. For three days respected scholars, many of them leaders in the field, came to St. Augustine and presented papers on various aspects of shipwreck and underwater prehistoric archaeology. We heard about Portuguese spice trading galleons, trading vessels lost off West Africa, 10,000 year old submerged sites, 4000-foot deep wrecks in the Gulf of Mexico, and everything from 18th century British warships to ancient dugout canoes right here in Florida.


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