There are many fascinating artifacts to be found along Florida’s historic coast, but none have attracted as much recent national attention as the 67-year-old Bermuda-based shipwreck, Deliverance. Discovered by Saint Augustine’s local archaeologists from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) back in 2008, the shipwreck had remained an unidentified mystery until New Years Day when the shipwreck resurfaced from the sands and revealed enough details for LAMP to discover its origin and story.

As a fanatic history major and aspiring archaeologist, I have been privileged enough to handle and care for many shipwreck artifacts recovered by LAMP from the nation’s oldest port. Many of these artifacts came from vessels that were unable to remain preserved due to their age and material composition; leaving only shards of wood and the cargo behind. For LAMP archaeologists, it is a real treat to be able to research and observe the whole 80 foot, iron, Bermuda-based ship that met its end in a massive storm off of Ponte Vedra Beach on December 13, 1947.
Deliverance Shipwreck on Ponte Vedra
When the Deliverance surfaced in 2008, only about five iron ribs were exposed for archaeologists to observe. On New Years Day, 42 of the ships ribs were revealed and further identification became possible. Research through Jacksonville Beach’s local archives and several internet sources turned up a possible match for LAMP’s elusive shipwreck.
“It was pretty cool, actually,” said Chuck Meide, director of LAMP. “You feel like an armchair archaeologist because we figured it out after we were back from the field. Everything else was done from the chair with a computer in front of us. Doing research has changed over the years.”
Further research was done by staff archaeologist Brendan Burke who found a small article from a Singapore newspaper detailing a Bermudian vessel, identical to the shipwreck, that had wrecked on its journey from Bermuda to Jacksonville on December 13, 1947 under the command of Captain Wilson King.
“There it was in black and white,” Burke said. “It was run ashore in a fierce storm and appeared to be in danger of breaking up. … That was the smoking gun for this case.”
Beaches Museum and History Park, “Bermuda Boat Wrecked on the Beach”
The excitement of this historical discovery is not to be short-lived as LAMP archaeologists are now attempting to determine the exact age of the Deliverance itself. Most of LAMP’s attention this summer will return to the 1782 British shipwreck that was part of a Loyalist evacuation from Charleston to St. Augustine and I will have the chance to see that shipwreck firsthand and report on its story and historical significance.