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The 65th Annual Meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society, St. Augustine, May 10-11, 2013

Posted by: Chuck Meide in LAMPosts

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The St. Augustine Archaeological Association (SAAA), made up of archaeologists and locals with an interest in St. Augustine archaeology, will be hosting the annual meeting of the Florida Anthropological Society (FAS) this May. The SAAA is our city’s local chapter of the FAS, and last hosted the annual meeting, which is held each year in different cities across the state, in 2001. This conference will attract avocational and professional archaeologists from across the state and beyond.

The theme this year is “Ponce to The Ponce,” chosen in recognition of Ponce de Leon's 1513 landing and the location of this year's meeting in Henry Flagler's former Ponce de Leon Hotel, now Flagler College. A number of special events are planned for conference attendees. On Friday there will be a Trolley Tour lead by the renowned University of Florida Archaeologist, and St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum Advisory Board Member, Dr. Kathleen Deagan, along with City Archaeologist Carl Halbirt. The Friday evening reception will be held at the Fountain of Youth, the location of Pedro Menendez's 1565 settlement and more than 50 years of archaeological excavations. The Saturday evening banquet, with Dr. Deagan as the keynote speaker, will be held in the elegant Ponce de Leon Dining Room at Flagler College, with a menu designed after that enjoyed by the hotel's guests on opening night in 1888. On Sunday there will be a harbor cruise aboard the Victory III and narrated by Chuck Meide, Director of LAMP, followed by a tour of the archaeological facilities at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum also lead by Chuck.

The main event of the conference will be the paper presentations on Saturday, held at Flagler College's Hotel Ponce de Leon, a designated National Historic Landmark. The last year that the FAS Meeting was held in St. Augustine was 2001, and that year also saw the conference’s first ever session of papers with an underwater archaeology theme, which was organized by LAMP staff. This year, LAMP is again organizing a session of papers, this time all focusing on our current research and outreach activities here at the nation’s oldest port. Papers will focus on our historical research related to Ponce de Leon’s 1513 Florida voyage of discovery, our ongoing work on the Storm Wreck, a 1782 American Revolution refugee ship, our use of sonar for research and monitoring in the waters around St. Augustine, and our public archaeology programs at the Lighthouse & Museum. We are excited about the opportunity to share our ongoing research with the local community and our colleagues from throughout the state.

Included below is LAMP’s session of thematically related papers for the 2013 Florida Anthropological Society Annual Meeting, organized by Chuck Meide, LAMP Director. For more information on the conference, including schedules, registration, and special events, click here.


Maritime Research in the Nation’s Oldest Port


Juan Ponce de León and the Discovery of Florida

Sam Turner, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP)
In the spring of 1513, Juan Ponce de León arrived off the east coast of Florida with a small fleet of three vessels. This talk will discuss some of the principal issues and the modern controversy that surround this voyage. This includes the original discovery of Florida, the identity of Guanahani Island (Ponce de León’s last stop before Florida), as well as the identity of an unidentified island sighted March 27th, 1513 and the Melbourne Beach theory, among others.

Painting a Sound Picture: Practical Applications of Sidescan Sonar Along the First Coast

Brendan Burke, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP)
Since 2008 LAMP has initiated periodical acoustic survey of numerous submerged archaeological sites within the inland and near-shore waters of northeast Florida. From systematic survey to pre- and post-storm monitoring, sidescan sonar has provided the ability to quickly assess a site while recording a basic image of the site to include in our collective knowledge of site condition as well as generate data to help better inform maritime archaeologists in the region about site formation processes. This presentation highlights some of the results of acoustic survey and monitoring and practical application of this valuable dataset.

The Storm Wreck, a Revolutionary War Period Shipwreck off St. Augustine, Florida: Summary of the 2010-2012 Excavation Seasons

Wade Bailey, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP)
In August 2009, during a state-funded survey, LAMP archaeologists discovered a shipwreck site in the vicinity of the relict inlet off St. Augustine. Named the Storm Wreck (SJ5459), the shipwreck was systematically excavated each summer between 2010 and 2012. A wide array of well-preserved material culture has been recovered, including the ship’s bell, cannons, small arms, cookware, personal possessions, and navigational instruments. This paper provides an overview of the excavation and analysis of this shipwreck, which is believed to be one of sixteen lost from the final fleet to evacuate British troops and Loyalist refugees from Charleston in December 1782.

Archival Research on the Storm Wreck: Using Documentary Evidence to Corroborate the Archaeological Record

Chuck Meide, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program
Since the discovery of the Storm Wreck, LAMP researchers have explored not only the shipwreck itself but also libraries and archival depositories to conduct historical research. This work became increasingly valuable to the evolving interpretation of the shipwreck, especially after a January 2013 research trip to the British National Archives in London. Efforts on the seafloor and in the archives have provided firm evidence tying this shipwreck to a dramatic event in the Revolutionary War, the evacuation of Charleston by the British government, and the subsequent loss of sixteen ships carrying Redcoats and Loyalist refugees on the St. Augustine bar.

Artifacts from the Storm Wreck, a Revolutionary War Period Shipwreck off St. Augustine, Florida

Starr Cox, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP)
The Storm Wreck is believed to be one of sixteen ships lost on 31 December 1782, part of the final fleet evacuating Loyalist refugees and British soldiers from Charleston at the end of the American Revolution. Discovered in 2009, it has been subjected to systematic excavations each summer thereafter by LAMP. After three seasons of fieldwork, more than 300 field specimens (many consisting of multiple items) have been collected and many have undergone various stages of analysis and conservation. This paper provides a brief overview of some of the more interesting artifacts, addressing both material culture analysis and conservation treatments.

Small Arms from the Storm Wreck, a Revolutionary War Period Shipwreck off St. Augustine, Florida

Brian McNamara, Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program
During the 2010-2012 field seasons the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program recovered several examples of small arms from this Loyalist refugee shipwreck, lost during the final days of our American Revolution. Some of these arms were military weaponry; carried by the common rank and file soldier, while another appears to be the personal property of a civilian passenger. Military hardware includes three Brown Bess muskets, two of which were loaded when the shipwreck occurred. This paper provides an overview of the recovered weaponry, which have undergone x-ray imaging and preliminary analysis, along with recovered ammunition, much of which has been conserved.

Bringing it Topside: Public Underwater Archaeology Programs at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum

Brenda Swann, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum
Bringing maritime archaeology and the work of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program to the public is an important part of the interpretation and programming at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. Access to underwater archaeological sites in northeast Florida is limited due to adverse diving conditions, and artifact conservation often involves hazardous chemicals and processes that make public involvement difficult. Challenges and successes of implementing public underwater archaeology programs to the nearly 200,000 visitors and 43,000 school children who visit the Lighthouse each year will be discussed.


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