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Volunteer Training Dive a Success!!

Posted by: Mallory Valalik in LAMPosts

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LAMP and FPAN with their volunteer divers after a day of successful dives among the Urca de Lima 1715 shipwreck.

On May 19th and 20th LAMP joined the Florida Public Archaeology Network for a volunteer dive training off the coast of Ft. Pierce, Florida. The volunteers gained first-hand experience of the scientific diving and mapping procedures along side underwater archaeologists.

On May 19th and 20th LAMP joined the Florida Public Archaeology Network in an attempt to educate the public of the value and importance of underwater archaeology by focusing on the Urca de Lima shipwreck of 1715. Over 30 divers were present on May 20th to volunteer and become part of such an amazing history. Four of the divers were LAMP’s very own volunteers; including, John Brunswick, Adam Cripps, Gordon Horn and James Wright. LAMP would also like to recognize two archaeologists that assisted the project, Matt Defelice, Broward County archaeologist, and Chris McCabe, Georgia state archaeologist.

LAMP’s objectives during the Ft. Pierce dive were to locate the shipwreck site, train scientific dive team volunteers in the basic methods of underwater archaeology and map the locations of the wreckage and its debris for further comparison with earlier maps of the site to document any changes that have occurred over time.

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Renee Post exploring the ship's anchor.

The mission was a success and on May 19th at 4:30pm LAMP divers Chuck Meide, Brendan Burke, Renee Post, Mallory Valalik, and volunteer John Brunswick located the site plaque followed by the replica cannons and finally the ships hull. Underwater visability was fairly clear and the divers were able to see numerous musket balls along with horse hair matting used to protect the hull from shipworms and placed between the hull and the sacrifical planking that still display original tack holes from the 1715 wreck.

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The hull of Urca de Lima containing the nearly 300 year old musket balls.

The following morning, May 20th, Brendan Burke aboard a 21-foot survey vessel owned Florida's Department of Environmental Protection conducted a sidescan sonar survey of the Urca de Lima wreck site and from above water level was able to locate the only remaining feature that had not yet been seen on this dive, the anchor. Following the sonar survey, intern staff archaeologists, Renee Post and Mallory Valalik, along with their team of volunteers, John Brunswick, Chris McCabe, Ben Seigel, and James Wright were able to lay in the base line for further mapping of the site. Once the base line was in place the team (Team One) directed their attention to the investigation of the cannons, anchor, the exposed portions of the hull. After their return to shore, team two; Adam Cripps, Matt Defelice and Gordon Horn were able to begin measuring and mapping the underwater site.

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Intern staff archaeologists, Renee Post and Mallory Valalik, laying in the base line to begin mapping the shipwreck.

Team two was in the water for less than an hour before an afternoon storm hit the Ft. Pierce shore and forced them out of the water. Luckily, the team was able to map the location of multiple cannons prior to their emergency exit.


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Mallory Valalik getting a closer look at the ship's hull.

As of May 21st the LAMP crew has returned to headquarters and is in the process of organizing all the data collected and finalizing the site maps.

As a final reminder to recreation divers headed to the Urca de Lima site please remember this is a protected site and open to the public, however, nothing should be removed. When diving, "take nothing, and leave only bubbles".

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