Thursday, May 21, 2015

5/21/15 Report - Nautical Archaeology And The Rich History Of Florida. Great Resources For Shipwreck Research.

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Today I'm going to provide some information that will serve as background material for a future discussion on some shipwreck salvage topics.  I think you'll find it very interesting on its own.


Florida has a lot of interesting history.  Have you ever heard of Beard's raid?

The Civil War had devastating consequences for industrial northwest Florida. To prevent the local industrial complexes from being captured and used by encroaching Union troops, Confederate forces burned and destroyed the industrial infrastructure as they retreated (Rucker 1990). Among those destroyed were the immense industrial complexes located along the Blackwater River.  

The map above shows  Colonel William K Beard's path of destruction.

I had the opportunity to hunt that area when I was doing contract work for the Naval Air Station at Pensacola.  A fellow that worked there had done some detecting with little luck near Milton, which you can see near the top center of this map.  He was detecting an old site that was near the river.  The hotel had burned down years ago.  He wanted me to show him how to work the site.  I've told a little about that before.

I found some old coins, a silver plate, tax tokens, a gold plated lapel pin and other items in just the first couple hours of detecting.  It was obviously a good hunting location, and I wish I had more time there.

The area had a long thriving lumber business and was a shipping center.  A lumber mill was established in the area by the Spanish as early as the 18th century.

Here is a thesis that will tell you something about that.

Here is one good resource.  It is the thesis PARADOX ON THE BLACKWATER RIVER: THE HISTORY OF AN UNKNOWN SHIPWRECK By Marisa Lee Foster B.A., University of West Florida, 2009.

That thesis is the source of the map shown at the top of the page, as well as the quote.   Here is the link.

One of the best things about academic studies like this is the list of references that you'll find at the end.

Here is a thesis on abandoned ships in the same geographical area that I found in the reference list.

THE HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY OF SHIP ABANDONMENT AT SHIELDS POINT by Paul Goodwin Sjordal B.A., The University of California, Davis 2000

And here is that link.

This is something I think you'll want to browse.

Here is the Palafox as it looked when being built.

 Below is the same ship as it looked years later.

There are numerous sunken ships in that area.

The next picture shows a lead draft marker.

I once found what I thought was a lead draft marker on a Treasure Coast shipwreck beach.  The one I found was in the shape of a V.  Roman numerals were used then.

In this thesis you'll see a good number of illustrations and photos.  It is very informative.

It also talks about the culture and evolution of wreck sites as well as many helpful concepts related to nautical archaeology.   That is something I'll discuss more sometime in the near future.

My main point today is the wealth of research material that you can find on the internet these days, including academic studies like the two I mentioned today.  And don't forget to check out the reference list at the end of each thesis.


On the Treasure Coast we have one or two more days of two foot surf then we'll get a slight increase.  We still have the negative low tides but they are moderating.  No big beach changes are in the forecast.

Happy hunting,