In South Australia I was born,
Heave away! Haul away!
In South Australia ‘round Cape Horn!
We’re bound for South Australia!
Heave away, you rolling king!
Heave away! Haul away!
All the way you’ll hear me sing
We’re bound for South Australia!
— traditional sea chantey
Hello everyone out there. This is my first appearance on the new LAMPposts blog, and it is the special Australian edition!
First, a little about myself. My name is Chuck Meide, and I am the Director of LAMP, or the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program. LAMP is the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum. I am from Atlantic Beach, Florida—about a 45 minute drive north of St. Augustine—and I am a maritime archaeologist by trade. I went to school at Florida State University for my undergrad and master’s degree, and am currently completing my PhD studies through the College of William and Mary. After finishing my coursework there, I applied for and was offered the job of running LAMP, an offer I couldn’t refuse. So in February of last year I moved from Williamsburg, Virginia back home to Florida’s First Coast.

So what does a maritime museum in St. Augustine, Florida have to do with Australia? Good question. I am on route to Adelaide in South Australia to join a team of maritime archaeologists and students from Flinders University which is conducting a three-week archaeological field school in Victor Harbor on the Fleurieu Peninsula. I will be assisting the Flinders team as they investigate a number of maritime sites on land and underwater. For those of you who don’t know, Flinders boasts one of the foremost maritime archaeology programs in the world, and it’s a real honor to be working with them.
The partnership between LAMP and Flinders started shortly after my arrival at LAMP, when I was approached by a friend and fellow maritime archaeologist Jen McKinnon. Jen was recently hired as a new professor at Flinders, and earlier in her student career she worked as a LAMP intern. We also knew each other from our Florida State days. Jen asked if LAMP would be interested in hosting a jointly sponsored field school in St. Augustine, accredited through Flinders. Part of LAMP’s mission is to build partnerships with other research organizations, and to promote maritime education at the college level, so this seemed like a great idea. Flinders students would benefit from an overseas field school conducting dynamic research in America’s oldest port city, and LAMP would benefit from the addition of 12 experienced divers to our research team for a three-week period. Our St. Augustine field school is a go and will happen in July 2007.
So this is why I find myself sitting on the floor of the L.A. International Airport after a long flight from Jacksonville, blogging away. Flinders invited me to come help out with their own field school in Australia for the first three weeks of February (which is summer down under). During the next three weeks, we’ll have plenty of time to plan for the upcoming St. Augustine field school, and I’ll be able to meet the students and staff archaeologists who will be working with us in July. Its also a good opportunity to communicate with Flinder’s diving officer, so that we can make sure our respective diving safety standards are mutually acceptable. In addition to this, of course, they will be putting me to work, and its likely that I might even learn something!
Though my laptop is telling me that I’m connected to a free public WiFi service here in the airport, I can’t get my browser to work, so I won’t be able to post this until I get a reliable internet connection. But I’ve been told there is internet access in Victor Harbor, so I’m expecting to be able to blog regularly during my Australian expedition.
In less than two hours I’ll be boarding the plane. See you down under!