First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project
“[The First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project 2007-2009 report] is the most comprehensive and complete example of a marine archaeology report that has been received by this agency. [The results of this project] have set a new standard for what can be accomplished by archaeologists working along Florida’s waterfronts.”
-- Dr. Roger C. Smith, State Underwater Archaeologist
|Local high school students completing their certification dives at Alexander Springs. These students were certified as divers by LAMP instructors and subsequently participated in archaeological fieldwork.|
The First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project (FCMAP) is a comprehensive program of archaeological research and educational outreach focusing on the maritime heritage of Florida’s First Coast, and particularly that of St. Augustine, the oldest port in the United States, and its immediate surrounding region. The first phase of this project was carried out between July 2007 and December 2009 by LAMP after being awarded a Special Category Historic Preservation Grant through the State of Florida’s Division of Historical Resources. While state funding is no longer available for this project, LAMP has continued to conduct fieldwork under the auspices of this project through the present day.
|LAMP archaeologists and volunteers investigating an unidentified steamboat wreck in the shallows of Grimsley Cove in Crescent Lake, Flagler County.|
Meaningful archaeological research is the core work of this project. With the advantage of state funding, ambitious goals were set and met by LAMP archaeologists. During the original 2007-2009 phase of FCMAP, project staff completed 95 days of site investigation and/or excavation, 93 days of survey, 41 days of target testing, and 58 days of site monitoring. Site investigations included the terrestrial excavation of a riverine farmstead and wharf complex dating to the 18th and 19th centuries, and both the non-intrusive survey and excavation of a variety of shipwrecks located in both inshore and offshore environments. Over the duration of the project, 824 individual dives were completed for a total of 669.5 hours of underwater time, without a single diving-related injury or accident.
|LAMP interns, archaeologists, and Anastasia State Park staff recovered the broken keel of a shipwreck probably dating to the first quarter of the nineteenth century at the Blowhole Wreck site.|
In addition to diving and terrestrial site investigations, over 300 linear miles in more than 25 search areas were surveyed with side scan sonar, magnetometer, and sub-bottom profiler. Offshore survey activities resulted in 128 magnetic, 4 sidescan sonar, and 181 subbottom profiler anomalies. More targets were identified in a number of inland waterway surveys. Target testing led to the discovery of one shipwreck and several possible sites, and many more targets were identified which will be tested in future years. 2007-2009 FCMAP activities led to the reporting of four new sites and the updating of 12 site file forms.
|In 2009 divers excavated a trench across a ballast pile offshore St. Augustine to expose hull timbers at the Steamship and Ballast Pile Wreck Site.
The initial funded phase of FCMAP also sponsored a number of archival research trips to various archives across the U.S. and in London and Seville. This has resulted in a wealth of new documents related to the maritime history of the First Coast which are currently being organized and transcribed. Stored on the LAMP server are 5863 digital images (11.23 gigs) of British documents (Admiralty, Colonial Office, and Treasury records), 2171 images (12.31 gigs) of Spanish documents (most dating to the 16th century), and 1953 images (5.36 gigs) of 19th century U.S. documents (commerce, naval, and newspaper records). This represents as many as 19,974 pages, and much of the microfilm from Spain has not yet been digitized. Eventually all documents will be translated and made available to the public at LAMP’s George R. Fischer Research Library.
|A Flagler College student assists in the documentation of the Blowhole Wreck keel.|
|Teacher Ken Jones and students from the maritime archaeology class at Pedro Menendez High School learn conservation techniques by helping clean a corroded iron chainplate from a Vilano Beach shipwreck, under the tutelage of conservator Kathleen McCormick.
With state funding no longer available for a project of this scope, FCMAP’s research and outreach activities have been scaled back but it remains an ongoing project and we implement field research each season. Since 2010, our primary research focus has been the excavation of the Storm Wreck, a late eighteenth century colonial shipwreck that was discovered during a 2009 FCMAP remote sensing survey. The FCMAP 2010 field season research report was recently completed and is currently undergoing review by state archaeologists.
Click on the reference below to see the title page, table of contents, and introduction for the 2007-2009 final report:
Meide, Chuck, Samuel P. Turner and P. Brendan Burke
2010 First Coast Maritime Archaeology Project 2007-2009: Report on Archaeological and Historical Investigations and Other Project Activities. Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, First Light Maritime Society, St. Augustine, Florida.
- General Information
- Major Research Projects and Regional Surveys
- Shipwreck Projects
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, are copyright Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, Inc. We extend permission to scholars, students, and other interested members of the public to use images and to quote from text for non-commercial educational or research purposes, provided LAMP is acknowledged and credited. If there are any questions regarding the use of LAMP’s work, please inquire at LAMP@staugustinelighthouse.org.