Storm Wreck

Hammering out another artifact

2015-10-28T08:00:55-04:00October 28th, 2015|

As we do conservation of artifacts from the Storm Wreck, we try to identify and work on pieces that are either unique or may have some identification or information pertaining to the ship. Some of the items that have gone through or are currently undergoing conservation include a 4-pound cannon, a 9-pound carronade, dozens of cannonballs, numerous cast iron cauldrons, pewter plates, spoons and thousands of nails. These artifacts were all chosen because they had the [...]

Shifting tides at the Lighthouse

2015-10-14T08:00:41-04:00October 14th, 2015|

Autumn brings the smell of wood smoke, washed sunlight, and relief from the oven of summer. Around St. Augustine, wood smoke as often indicates a backyard campfire as someone smoking fish. Mullet are on the beach, we’ve had our first fall Nor’easter, and all seems to be about right here in the Ancient City. Fall brings high tides every year, but 2015 has been exceptional. Check out this picture taken at high tide on [...]

18th Century Cannon Conservation – The Next Step

2015-10-06T13:27:22-04:00October 6th, 2015|

On Wednesday, October 7, 2015, we will begin the final phase of conservation for the two large cannons from the Storm wreck. Removing concretion Lighthouse archaeologists excavated the guns in June, 2011, and brought them to the lighthouse. In the first phase of conservation, as much of the exterior concretion as possible was removed using hammers, chisels and air-scribes. This was to ensure no other artifacts were stuck inside the concretion, and if [...]

New pistol concretion

2015-09-30T08:00:59-04:00September 30th, 2015|

In the previous blog, X-rays of smaller artifacts from the 2015 Storm wreck field season were discussed. The smaller objects are taken to Monahan Chiropractic Medical Clinic to determine what is inside. The larger items, however, are brought to Flagler Hospital Imaging Center where they are able to accommodate the bigger and odder-shaped concretions. Nine such artifacts from several different field seasons and locations were recently taken to the Imaging Center to be X-rayed. While [...]

New Artifacts Revealed in X-Rays

2015-08-26T08:00:30-04:00August 26th, 2015|

As the Summer 2015 surveys and excavation draws to a close, it is time for all the research, reporting and paperwork to begin. For conservation, that means documenting and X-raying the artifacts excavated during the fieldwork. This is done for a few reasons. First, we obviously want to know what was brought up. The concretions often do not resemble anything or give clues as to what the artifacts are. Second, we want to figure out what [...]

From the Wreckage: A Queen Anne Pistol

2015-07-29T08:00:47-04:00July 29th, 2015|

New discoveries are made at the lighthouse every day in our maritime research conservation lab. As we continue to clean and prepare artifacts from a 1782 British Loyalist wreck found just off St. Augustine’s coast for an upcoming exhibit, we are learning more about the wreck and the people who were on board this vessel.  In 2010, we recovered a concretion from the “Storm Wreck” that contained a pistol. From the initial X-ray we learned that [...]

Clues of All Sizes: New Buttons Add to Shipwreck Story

2015-06-24T08:00:06-04:00June 24th, 2015|

Some of the most exciting finds from the Storm Wreck have been the smallest artifacts. Two military buttons were found while excavating and conserving objects. They helped provide some of the best diagnostic information about the ship and what it was doing. RP button The first button was found while removing concretion from the exterior of a larger artifact, the ship’s bell. The bell was excavated and began conservation treatment in 2011, and [...]

Archaeology Field School Proves Challenging But Fun!

2015-06-10T08:00:20-04:00June 10th, 2015|

This blog was provided by Chris McCarron, one of the supervisors participating in this year’s underwater archaeology field school program. The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum is currently under way with its annual underwater archaeology field school as students dive off the coast of St. Augustine to find long lost artifacts from colonial era North America. This year’s roster includes five students from the United States and Canada, all with different fields of academic studies [...]

Solving a Shipwreck Puzzle One Artifact at a Time

2015-05-27T08:00:36-04:00May 27th, 2015|

One of the most recent artifacts I have begun conserving is again an unexpected find. It is also a fitting item for the Storm Wreck as it is a microcosm of what has been found so far. One of my job responsibilities is to perform public education while conserving objects. This typically means cleaning artifacts outside and interacting with visitors and answering their questions. Tuesday through Friday I usually work on concretions that either have [...]

Conserving Lead Artifacts from Storm Wreck

2015-04-29T08:00:36-04:00April 29th, 2015|

Perhaps the easiest material to recognize while conserving is lead. It is easily distinguishable when excavated and handled due to its extreme density. Divers mostly know when they are picking up lead versus cast iron. None more so than the large deck pump recovered in 2011, which weighs nearly 300 pounds. Lead deck pump after excavation. Lead artifacts are also easy to pick out after excavation during the X-ray process. They show up [...]

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