Surveying Florida wrecks
Press release issued: 13 July 2005
A team of maritime archaeologists, led by Dr Simon Q. Spooner of Bristol University's Centre for Maritime Archaeology and History, has been granted survey/inventory permits to conduct maritime archaeological surveys of a number of historic wrecks in the Florida Keys.
A team of maritime archaeologists, led by Dr Simon Q. Spooner of Bristol University?s Centre for Maritime Archaeology and History, has been granted survey/inventory permits by the American National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to conduct maritime archaeological surveys of a number of historic wrecks in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary (FKNMS).
The surveys will be carried out by the Anglo~Danish Maritime Archaeological Team (ADMAT) and its US sub-division ADMAT USA, both non-profit organisations. Reports generated by Dr Spooner and ADMAT will be used by the Sanctuary to help protect these important maritime heritage resources.
ADMAT?s first project will be to survey the ?Button Wreck?, a possible 1760?s wreck in the northern sector of the Sanctuary. The archaeological work will be conducted as a field school with up to 30 students from around the world, running from Tuesday 19 July until Tuesday 9 August 2005.
The ?Button Wreck? is a wooden shipwreck, situated on a flat reef in approximately nine feet of water, about five miles off shore and ten miles from the dock in Key Largo.
The wreck was originally found some 30 years ago and was dubbed the ?Button Wreck? because a number of uniform buttons from different English regiments have been found on the wreck site. The remains of the wooden ship may date back to 1768 according to a local historian who has conducted the initial research. The vessel may have been an English ship transporting troops when it hit the reef in a storm.
The objective of the field school is to conduct a non-intrusive survey of the wreck site to see if further clues as to the ship?s identity and purpose can be found.
The field school is open to all divers, students and archaeologists. Full information about how to apply for the school can be found on ADMAT?s web site www.admat.org.uk under ?Florida?.
Upon receiving the permits, Dr Spooner said: ?At ADMAT, we are all extremely excited about this opportunity to help protect the Underwater Cultural Heritage of the Florida Keys. Conducting maritime archaeological surveys for NOAA and FKNMS in the Florida Keys is a great privilege.
?Documentation of these historical wrecks, will add to the knowledge of the Underwater Cultural Heritage in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. We shall be working hard to ensure, that we document these historic shipwrecks for future generations.
?Our educational field schools will enable all who participate to learn about the preservation of the US historic shipwrecks, ship construction, survey methodology, geophysical survey, archaeological diving methodology, in-situ artefact recording and many more aspects of maritime archaeological work. We welcome all to take part, in whatever way they can, with this exciting project to help protect the USA?s Underwater Cultural Heritage.?