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

Field School


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November 19, 2013

Former LAMP student, now CEO of Britain's Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust, investigates Scottish shipwreck

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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This shipwreck was recently exposed on the beach at Bamburgh Castle in Scotland. One of our former students, Jessica Berry, was called in to investigate.

Here at LAMP we always are proud to see our former students make good! We recently saw a news story involving one of our 2007 Field School students, Jessica Berry. She was a Flinders University student at the time, working on her master's degree, and she participated in the joint Flinders-LAMP Field School in that year, which was the first Field School LAMP ever sponsored (we have continued to run a summer field school in maritime archaeology each year since). Jessica, a native of the United Kingdom, was a great student, lots of fun to work with, and she even authored some of our LAMPosts Blog entires--check them out here and here .

Continue reading "Former LAMP student, now CEO of Britain's Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust, investigates Scottish shipwreck" »

October 1, 2013

LAMP research highlighted in Australian magazine

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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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.

August 8, 2013

New Video Showing the History and Excavation of the Storm Wreck

Posted by: Chuck Meide

Check out the latest video we have produced highlighting our work on the Revolutionary War period Storm Wreck! This has been a busy excavation season and we haven't blogged much, but we wanted to share this one as it is a great compilation with some outstanding underwater video. We have had the best visibility (at least for a few days) that we have ever had offshore St. Augustine so we finally have some good footage of the various aspects of the job when it comes to excavating, recording, and recovering artifacts from an underwater shipwreck site.

Enjoy!

April 10, 2013

2013 Maritime Archaeology Field School

Posted by: Chuck Meide


Check out this video we made showing students in the 2010 LAMP Field School raising a cauldron from the 1782 "Storm Wreck."

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Students in the 2012 Field School preparing for another "day at the office."

The 2013 Field School in Maritime Archaeology will run from May 27 to June 21, 2013. 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 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 2013 Field School, with complete information on activities, lodging, applications, paperwork, etc.

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

Continue reading "2013 Maritime Archaeology Field School" »

August 9, 2012

History Out of Shifting Sands . . .

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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LAMP divers raised not one but three muskets from the late 1700s Storm Wreck during the 2012 field season.

What a great article came out of the Jacksonville newspaper, the Florida Times Union, last Saturday. I missed it as I was on vacation, but heard all about it when I came back into the office this week and it is online.

From the Times Union:


In 2009, members of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program were aboard their research vessel, the Desmond Valdes, doing a remote sensor survey. They got a noticeable magnetic return.

Divers who investivated found a large cast-iron cooking cauldron and other artifacts, and registered the site under the name Storm Wreck.

The students, interns and volunteers of the program’s field school excavated the immediate area in the summer of 2010. That November, LAMP Director Chuck Meide went out to retrieve equipment left behind.

But the sands had shifted.

In addition to the mooring anchors and lines he was expecting, Meide found a cluster of cannons and a bronze ship’s bell — only 10 or 15 feet north of the original site.

A discovery like this is the reason LAMP exists. It was founded as the
archaeological branch of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum. When the lighthouse museum became affiliated with the Smithsonian Institution in 2010, it was time for a name change.

“We decided to re-brand ourselves,” said Kathy Fleming, the group’s executive director.

The First Light Maritime Society was born.

Continue reading "History Out of Shifting Sands . . ." »

August 8, 2012

Article on LAMP's 2012 Field School in the Beaches Leader

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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A great story on our 2012 Field School ran in the Beaches Leader, a local paper for the Jacksonville Beaches, back on July 24 (in case you are wondering why all of these blog postings are suddenly appearing, our field season has come to a close so we are catching up with all the news we couldn't report while out diving on the boat!)

From the Beaches Leader:


LAMP’s annual summer field school brought 17 college students from across the country to learn archaeology by working on the late 18th century “Storm Wreck.” During the month of June, LAMP continued excavations on this wreck in an attempt to better understand the nature and extent of the shipwreck site, and the date, nationality, and function of the vessel it represents. Archaeology staff and students primarily worked from the research vessel Roper, a former shrimp trawler which is on loan to LAMP from the Institute of Maritime History in the Chesapeake region. This month, LAMP will continue field work but will focus on testing magnetic targets identified through previous years’ survey, in hopes of discovering one or more new shipwreck sites in the vicinity of the historic inlet.

Students were 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 also hosted an evening lecture series with field school instructors and visiting professionals from various public, private and academic institutions throughout Florida.

A field school is an irreplaceable component in the education of any student pursuing a career in archaeology. Each June, LAMP oversees an intense four-week, accredited educational program, allowing both undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to participate in a marine survey and underwater excavation of a historic shipwreck site. In addition to methodological training and academic lectures, students get valuable real-world experience in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork, scientific diving and seamanship and laboratory analysis. LAMP has partnered with a variety of universities, including Flinders University, Florida State University, Syracuse University and Plymouth State University, to organize and implement this four-credit course.

June 4, 2012

2012 Underwater Archaeology Field School

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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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" »

June 30, 2011

Cannons raised from the deep makes big news splash!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

On June 28, 2011, a date which we at LAMP will remember for a long time, we successfully raised two cannons from the Storm Wreck. These two guns, along with at least four others, had laid silent on this shipwreck since the Revolutionary War. Raising two was an ambitious goal, one that had motivated us for the duration of the field school for the entire month of June.

Needless to say, bringing up two cannons brought a lot of media attention. The story was picked up and reported by CNN and also NBC broadcast stations across the country, not to mention the local and regional media. Below are some links to these stories.

Click here to see a link to the news videos from CNN and two Jacksonville stations, First Coast News and Fox News.

Click here to see the story and video by Jacksonville's paper, the Florida Times-Union.

Click here to see the story and two videos by Jacksonville's First Coast News.

Click here to read the story in the St. Augustine Record.

March 2, 2011

6/6-7/1/2011: 2011 LAMP Underwater Archaeology Field School

Posted by: Brendan Burke

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The Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) is pleased to announce our Summer 2011 Field School. This year the field school will be held from June 6 - July 1, 2011 at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, St. Augustine, Florida. This comprehensive 4-week practicum will focus on the continued excavation of an 18th century shipwreck. Discovered in 2009, excavations began on this wreck site began during the summer of 2010. Artifacts recovered from this site indicate that is is a late 18th century wreck of unknown origin. Recent discoveries include hardware and rigging components, navigational and carpentry tools, a series of cast-iron and copper cauldrons, a small flintlock pistol, four cannons, and the ship's bell. This summer’s activities will include mapping, recording, and excavating an area adjacent to the 2010 excavation units. Students will work alongside instructors to record and recover artifacts associated with this wreck, including the planned raising of at least one cannon.

Continue reading "6/6-7/1/2011: 2011 LAMP Underwater Archaeology Field School" »

December 31, 2010

LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part III

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Field School student Katie Kelly, of the University of Indianapolis, enters the water with a giant stride, to participate in the excavation of the 18th century Storm Wreck. Katie was presented with the 2010 David Switzer Young Pioneer Award, which is awarded to the field school student who best exemplifies the qualities of hard work, dedication, and teamwork.

This is the final installment of a three-part blog focusing on our 2010 summer field school activities. As usual, it has been very busy here during the post-fieldwork season, so its been a while before I've had a chance to get back and re-visit those great memories from the summer's fieldwork.

Part I of this blog focused on the initial training of our 2010 field school students, including intense zero-visibility diving training in the pool, and also on the initial preparatory work on the site of the Storm Wreck, an 18th century shipwreck discovered during the previous year's field school. Part II focused on the diving investigation of the Bayfront Ballast Pile, a site located in the harbor off St. Augustine's waterfront. We had switched focus to that site when we were faced with mechanical problems with our primary research vessel, Roper. Once the Roper was fully repaired, courtesy of Ring Power Marine Services, we were ready to return to the offshore ocean environment, to begin excavations on the Storm Wreck. After being away from this colonial period wrecksite for a week, excitement has built, and we are all eager to begin excavations and make discoveries . . .

Continue reading "LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part III" »

September 10, 2010

LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part II

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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LAMP research vessels anchored off the Castillo de San Marcos on St. Augustine's waterfront to investigate a ballast pile in the harbor as part of the 2010 Field School.

Things have been so busy around here lately because of our field season, I've been neglecting our blog! Here is the second installment regarding our 2010 Field School, which brought 9 new students and 4 returning students to our nation's oldest port to learn the basic techniques of maritime archaeology. In our first installment, I overviewed the training the students underwent before going into the field, and the initial stages of fieldwork on an offshore shipwreck. But mechanical troubles with the research vessel Roper led to a change in plans. For a week we switched from working offshore to a newly discovered site, possibly a shipwreck, in Matanzas Bay along St. Augustine's historic waterfront. Here are two of our secondary research vessels, RV Desmond Valdes and RV Nickerin, anchored over the approximate location of the Bayfront Ballast Pile off the 17th century fort Castillo de San Marcos.

Continue reading "LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part II" »

July 5, 2010

LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part I

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Students and teachers from the 2010 Field School on board the research vessel Roper.

Things have been so busy during this year's field season that I've had no time whatsoever to blog about our activities! Last week we finished a great field school, which brought 9 students eager to learn, and 4 returning students from last year who served as supervisors, for what turned out to be one of our best field school experiences to date. I've picked out a bunch of great photos so everyone can see what our students were up to during the four-week long period from May 31 to June 25.

Continue reading "LAMP's 2010 Field School a Success for Both Teachers and Students, Part I" »

May 20, 2010

5/31/10 - 6/26/10 Summer Field School 2010

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Field School students and volunteers prepare for diving operations during the 2009 Field School. Join us as we conduct maritime archaeology at the nation's oldest port!

Information on the upcoming 2011 Field School is now online! Click here for more information on our upcoming Field School, June 6 through July 1, 2011!

The 2010 Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) Field School will be held May 31 - June 26, 2010 at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. This comprehensive 4-week field practicum will focus on the continued excavation of an unidentified 19th-century ballast pile to make a determination whether it represents the remains of the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, lost on the St. Augustine bar in August 1861 after the most successful cruise of the entire war. We will also staging test excavations on a new unidentified shipwreck site discovered during last year's survey efforts.

Continue reading "5/31/10 - 6/26/10 Summer Field School 2010" »

December 20, 2009

LAMP Summer Field School

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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SUMMER 2011 FIELD SCHOOL ANNOUNCEMENT AND INFORMATION -- CLICK HERE!

Every summer LAMP oversees an intense 4 week accredited field school open to both undergraduate and graduate students, providing an opportunity to participate in a marine survey and the excavation of one or more shipwreck or other maritime archaeological sites. In addition to methodological training and academic lectures, students get valuable real-world experience in all aspects of archaeological fieldwork, scientific diving and seamanship, and laboratory analysis.

More information on our upcoming and previous Field Schools are available through the following links.

Upcoming Summer 2011 Field School Announcement and Information

2010 LAMP Field School original announcement

2009 LAMP Field School original announcement

Click here to read all Field School-related blog posts, from 2007 to the present.

October 3, 2009

Radio show highlights Lighthouse & LAMP!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Back on July 25, Kathy Fleming (Executive Director of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum) and myself woke up pretty early on a Saturday to join Matt Jeffs, a local radio celebrity on 1240 AM WFOY whose morning show Airborne with Matt Jeffs is really fun to listen to. He has all kinds of interesting speakers from the St. Augustine region, and at least once a month he has on a local archaeologist. Apparently Kathy and I have faces that were built for radio, because not only is this broadcast out on the airwaves, but via a webcam it is broadcast on the internet. We talked about all of the great programs at the Lighthouse and gave an update on the shipwreck LAMP was excavating over the summer months, complete with a bucket full of wet artifacts . . . you can watch the whole thing below!

Continue reading "Radio show highlights Lighthouse & LAMP!" »

July 12, 2009

Continued Work on the Shipwreck Offshore

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Dr. Sam Turner uses an underwater lift bag to lighten the load of a box of ballast stones. He will swim the stones over to the day's lifting station, directly under the dive boat, so that the rocks can be hauled to the surface by the crew waiting above. This photograph has been modified with Adobe Photoshop so that viewers can better see the diver and his equipment; if you'd like to see the original version, click below.

Continue reading "Continued Work on the Shipwreck Offshore" »

July 6, 2009

Storms at Sea

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Ominous and rapidly-moving storm clouds drove LAMP researchers off the water today. Sudden storms have always been a hazard to St. Augustine mariners in modern times and in antiquity.

Continue reading "Storms at Sea" »

June 24, 2009

I once was blind, but now I see . . .

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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LAMP Field School student Chris Borlas takes advantage of good visibility to use a line level and folding rule to measure the depth of an excavation unit underwater. For the past three weeks, it has been so dark and murky on the wreck site that trying to see an air gauge, compass reading, tape measure, hand signal, or line level has been completely fruitless.

On the first day of diving this this week, LAMP staff and students alike were ecstatic to find that, with no warning, they could suddenly see on the shipwreck site. Visibility had been slowly improving over the past several weeks, so that divers could begin to see to a limited degree the site around them, instead of relying on groping in the dark. But all of the sudden the vis was great! We wasted no time and took advantage of these conditions while we had them.

We've posted some underwater video from Tuesday so everyone following along can experience seeing the shipwreck as we do. Check it out below!

Continue reading "I once was blind, but now I see . . ." »

June 22, 2009

LAMP Field School in the News

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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This photo was taken by St. Augustine Record reporter Daron Dean when he visited our excavation site on Friday. Also on hand were a film crew from Pepe Productions, including a Flagler College intern (with camera) and the film's director (helping steady her) working on an upcoming documentary.

We are always happy when our archaeological work gets local press attention, and last Sunday we were treated to a great front page story in the St. Augustine Record written by reporter Marcia Lane.

Continue reading "LAMP Field School in the News" »

June 20, 2009

Field School Students Take the Plunge -- First Dives Offshore

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Graduate Student Supervisor Rachel Horlings, a PhD student from Syracuse University, launches herself into the water to dive on the wreck of an unknown sailing vessel. Students from all over the U.S. have traveled to America's oldest port to participate in the 2009 LAMP Field School. Our primary objective is to excavate this sunken ballast pile in an attempt to determine if it represents the remains of the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis.

Continue reading "Field School Students Take the Plunge -- First Dives Offshore " »

June 14, 2009

Archaeology Boot Camp: the 2009 LAMP Field School Begins

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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Honora Sullivan-Chin, a student in the 2009 LAMP Field School, undergoes black-out mask zero visibility training under the supervision of Graduate Student Supervisor Kendra Kennedy. The first two days of Field School are an intensive training session to prepare them for the challenges on diving in zero- and low-visibility conditions on the wreck of an unknown sailing vessel offshore which might be the lost privateer and former slave ship Jefferson Davis.

Continue reading "Archaeology Boot Camp: the 2009 LAMP Field School Begins" »

June 10, 2009

LAMP Field Season is Underway with the Arrival of the R/V Roper!

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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R/V Roper, the research vessel of the Institute of Maritime History, is on loan to LAMP through the end of July. A crew of five IMH divers delivered this working dive boat from Maryland to St. Augustine in late May.

We had anticipated the arrival of the R/V Roper for months now, and in late May the day finally arrived. We had heard from our colleagues in the Chesapeake region about this vessel, about what a fantastic working dive boat she is, and finally we were going to find out for ourselves.

Continue reading "LAMP Field Season is Underway with the Arrival of the R/V Roper!" »

June 8, 2009

6/8-6/26/2009: LAMP 2009 Summer Field School

Posted by: Chuck Meide

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The 2011 LAMP Field School announcement is now online! Click here to learn about our upcoming summer field school, June 6-July 1, 2011.

UPDATE: The 2009 Field School was a great success! Click here to read the 2009 Field School blog posts!

Below is the original announcement for the 2009 Field School:

The 2009 Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) Field School will be held June 8-26, 2009 at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. This comprehensive 3-week field practicum will focus on the testing of an unidentified ballast pile to make a determination whether it represents the remains of the Confederate privateer Jefferson Davis, lost on the St. Augustine bar in August 1861 after the most successful cruise of the entire war. Alternate inshore sites will be investigated depending on conditions offshore.

Continue reading "6/8-6/26/2009: LAMP 2009 Summer Field School" »