Shipwreck found off St. Augustine coast believed to be 1700s merchant ship

A shipwreck off the First Coast is taking us back in time.

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- Not far off the St. Augustine coast, a marine archeological dive is underway.

A team of divers with the St. Augustine Lighthouse Maritime Archaeological Program (LAMP) and a team of archeological college students are working on a shipwreck.

"This is a really exciting shipwreck," said archeaogolgist Chuck Meide who leads the dive. While divers can't see the ship just yet, they sure can see what was on the ship. 

Meide said those items date between 1750 and 1800.

"This ship is loaded!" he said. "We've got caldrons everywhere. Big cooking pots, more than 28 cooking pots!"

There are pewter plates, bricks, cut stone (possibly building material) and ceramics as well. 

"There's a lot of cauldrons, they're all the same," Meide noted. "We found a lot of shoe buckles. They're all the same."

That leads archeologists to believe they've found a merchant ship or cargo ship, which brought goods to St. Augustine.

There's nothing yet that reveals if the ship was English or Spanish or even early American.  

"We just found this wreck two years ago and we've only been digging on it one year," Meide explained. "So we're beginning to build a case for what we think it is."

Right now, divers like Fran Mahon, a University of Delaware student, are laying out gird units over the wreck.

"It's so we can map out other artifacts if there are any," Mahon said. 

More artifacts are certainly expected.

Brenden Burke with LAMP said this discovery can help people understand more about the social, economic and political state of Florida at the time. He said it gives them insight into "who Florida was dealing with at the time and where northeast Florida and St. Augustine were looking to for commerce."

The wreck is really not that far down. It's only about 17 feet to 22 feet below on the ocean floor.

"We have to keep the exact location a secret so we don't want anyone to know how to find it and potentially loot it," Meide said.

Artifacts like those cauldrons can help complete the understanding of the history and the mystery of Colonial Florida.

"There's nothing that can give us the insight like a shipwreck can... a time capsule that's directly below," Meide noted.

 


sot: 6:23 Who Florida was dealign with at the time. Where was Northeast Florida, st. Agustuine looking for commerce for

 

 

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