Greg showing students side-scan sonar equipment.
Monday was both exciting and sad, being the beginning of the last week of field school. The students have begun to piece together all the work their different teams have been toiling over for the past months, and are really beginning to see the whole picture. The day began like any other; the threat of being rained out looming over our heads, but that did not deter us. We suited up and headed out. The three objectives to work on included the brick wreck, the water front, and some final measurements on the southern units to complete the site plan. Team 4 was the first to enter the water on Emanuel Point II, only to discover that sometime over the weekend the anchor line had wrapped across the unit grid and dragged it off the site. We eventually discovered it a few feet away and placed it back where it belongs and then went to work trying to get measurements and dredge some 100 cm below the sea floor. Needless to say, the visibility was nil. Somehow all the students managed to complete the task without incident. Dive two was more of the same. We were really starting to get to the meat of the unit, uncovering inner hull planking or outer hull planking, when the weather worsened and the dive had to be cut short.
Tuesday started out clear and sunny, 83 degrees Fahrenheit at 0600; it was going to be a scorcher. With the close of the field school approaching on Friday, all the students were being ferried out to cover as much ground as possible on all the projects. So once again the teams were split into the Brick Wreck, Waterfront and Emanuel Point II. Greg also gave students an introduction to magnetometer and side scan sonar survey. Our team was on EPII today. The morning started off with teams working in both the N87 E497 and N86 E497 units. The teams measured and dredged for an hour. When it came time for the next dive team, all that was left for them to do was clean up around the units and dump ballast stones on the ballast pile. No small task, but not exactly thrilling either. Team 4 finished this task in a timely manner and then exited the water.
Lynne and Aleks with the possible coin.
On Wednesday, we were delighted to have Dr. Roger Smith, the state of Florida’s Underwater Archaeologist, join the field school for the rest of the week. Aleks and Lynne set up the dredge to continue working on 87N 497E. The day before, Team 2 had reached the 100 cm mark but overnight the sediments had moved in, so beginning measures showed we were back in the 80’s. We were able to accomplish 90 – 100cm by the end of the first dive. With dive 2 we continued on 87N 497E. The unit was so full of overlapping wood that it was difficult to get accurate measurements from any angle. The most exciting part of the afternoon was finding what looked to be a possible coin in the dredge spoil. We were very excited when Dr. Bratten said it looked like the one found on EPI that dated from 1497. Dr. Bratten took it to the lab for analysis, which will unfortunately take several weeks to complete. Other artifacts found at this level were ceramics, nut hull, bone, and a type of hardened clay.
On Thursday, Hans and Lynne started dredging on 86N 497E continuing with level 60-80 cm. and found lots of wood and also lots of very small ballast pieces in the unit. We were able to finish the 60-80 level, but as soon as Lynne started drawing the end of level picture of the unit, everyone was recalled from the water because of an approaching storm. We headed back for the 17th Ave. landing and returned to MSC. Dredge spoil took the better part of an hour to sort and catalog with all the fragments and pieces coming out of the bottoms of these units. No one seemed to mind though, as every artifact is so interesting. Artifacts collected from this level consisted of roach wing, resin, bone, nut hull, and seeds.
2008 Maritime Field School group photo. (Large View)
Friday was the last day of field school, which meant finishing up last minute tasks and maintenance. While one team of volunteers went to the Brick Wreck, the rest of the crew went to EP II one last time to gather the last remaining measurements and drawings before breaking down for the summer season. The first set of divers managed to complete these tasks, leaving the second set of divers to break down the dredges and pickup any remaining equipment that needed to be removed from the bottom. It ended up being an enjoyable dive, which allowed us to visit other units where we had not previously worked and get one last look at the site as a whole before packing our gear up and returning to MSC for equipment cleaning and maintenance.
Overall the UWF 2008 Maritime Field School was a great success. Stay tuned for a final wrap up entry of this summer’s research accomplishments.
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