The waters of Florida are well-known as a graveyard for wrecks. From Native American canoes and Spanish galleons, to eighteenth-century warships and World War II planes, we have it all. It is easy to forget that the entire eastern seaboard was, and still is, a major shipping route.
Associated Press: “Shipwreck found off North Carolina, possibly from late 1700s”
“RALEIGH, N.C. — Scientists using underwater vehicles and sonar have found a shipwreck off the North Carolina coast that may date back to the American Revolution, Duke University said Friday.”
Shipwrecks, when excavated by properly trained archaeologists, are fascinating time capsules that represent a real slice of a particular time period. If this is an undisturbed eighteenth-century wreck, then there is so much to be learned.
You Know You Are a Southern Florida Archaeologist When…
- Your commute entails taking an air-boat to an Everglades tree island
- A “mound” is any elevation over 30cm
- You worry whether your snake boots can handle Everglades pythons
- People think you are searching for buried Spanish doubloons
- You have shared an “emergency” beer with Gary Beiter
- The land owner forgets to tell you it is hunting season, so you improvise high-visibility gear from colored tape
- Your test pit fills with water at 30cm
- STP always stands for sand-tempered plain, not some 1990s alternative band
- You come back from lunch to find your site paved over and a condo going up
- The Florida Anthropologist is your recreational reading
- You have worked for the venerable Bob Carr
- And, your archaeological site looks like a tropical paradise
What makes Florida a fascinating place to study is the time depth of the region’s heritage. Ten thousands years of archaeology stretching back to the Paleo-Indian hunters, and over five hundred years of written documents starting with Ponce de León and the Spanish Conquistadors, means that we are always finding new discoveries. Recently in St. Augustine archaeologists found the skeleton of a horse from the Second Spanish Period of Florida (1784-1821). You can read more at…
New Historian: “Colonial-era Horse Skeleton Found in St. Augustine”
A horse skeleton dating back to the Spanish Colonial era of Florida has been uncovered in the city of St. Augustine…
Of course, the horses introduced by the Spaniards to the Americas starting in the late fifteenth century were not the first horses to gallop around the continent. America’s original horse inhabitants went extinct around 12,000 years ago, about the same times as the megafauna such as the Mammoth, Mastodon, Saber-toothed Cat, and Giant Beaver. You can learn more about the megafauna at the PBMNH’s Expedition Ice Age Exhibit, currently showing at the Plantation Historical Museum.