New conservation projects have taken a short break as the archaeology staff prepares for the annual Society for Historical Archaeology conference in Washington D.C., January 5-10. The SHA conference is one of the largest meetings of the year and also one of the most pertinent to underwater archaeology. The research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP), will be presenting findings on the Storm Wreck. Staff archaeologists, conservators and field school students will be talking about the excavation, research and interpretation of the wreck.
The aspect I will be presenting on is the assemblage of weights found throughout the site. While not exactly the first artifacts that come to mind when thinking of this 1782 British Loyalist shipwreck, they tell a very interesting story of the refugees on board, the passengers and crew during the voyage and the ship breaking apart.
The first group of weights is those that were either personal belongings or did not have something to do with the ship. The majority of these were commercial trade weights of some sort.
Three similar pan or balance scale weights were found separately on the site, but share similar features. These conical, bun-shaped weights are made of lead and were most likely used with a hanging balance scale. The shape suggests they were meant to rest in one of the scale’s pans. Continue reading