Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Week 3

May 31-June 2, 2010
By: Benjamin Garrett 

            Tuesday half of our group went to EPII and half went to Seminole.  At EPII the group dove on the target that was identified last Friday as a possible wreck site. Divers identified it as a modern vessel based on the roundness of the timbers and the whiteness of the oyster shell. Once this determination was made, the target was abandoned and the group headed to another target for investigation. D. Haddock and J. Grinnan completed a circle search but did not find anything of interest. A plan was made to hit another target however, this plan was abandoned on account of the weather and the day was ended early.  

            At Seminole there is a 19th century steamboat that was sunk and moved to its resting spot at the outside of a riverbend.  It is resting at a 45 degree angle.  The remains of a paddlewheel are sticking out of the water.  Divers went into the water to investigate the wreck.  First, we had an overview of the wreck and then they started taking measurement of individual pieces such as the paddlewheel.  Some of the divers got to see the nameplate and boilers excess steam container as well as other parts of the boat.  Then it started to rain bringing the day to an end and they went to make drawings of what was measured.

            Wednesday the field school attended a presentation.  We learned how the presenter studied coastal anthropology and sort of combined terrestrial and maritime anthropology.  The presenter studied emergency centers that were placed every so many miles along the coast that would help sailors whose boats had wrecked.  These were built a long time ago before the Coast Guard and they saved many sailors lives.  Then after the presentation we worked in the lab bagging and tagging all the artifacts we have uncovered so far.  There were things like bones, pottery, rocks, lead sheathing, concretions, and other things.  We took measurements of the artifacts, weighed them, put them in fresh water, and drew them.

June 3, 2010-June 4,2010
By: Stephanie Poole

             Unfortunately, the uncooperative Florida weather prevented the UWF field school from spending the day on the water. However, all was not lost, as we piled into the archaeology vans and headed to Pensacola Naval Air Station for a behind the scenes tour of the Naval Aviation Museum. We were greeted by Captain Ed Ellis an incredibly knowledgeable guide. At each exhibit, he informed us of its significance and historical background. Our tour began in the restoration department of the museum. Here we were able get an up-close view of some of the planes that are being restored for future display. These planes included the Coronado as well as a Hell Cat recovered from Lake Michigan. The tour continued outside where we encountered such planes as the first plane to land at the South Pole, the plane George Bush landed on the Abraham Lincoln, the plane with the longest flight time without refueling (58 hours), and of course, we cannot forget the famous Blue Angels’ jets.

              Inside of the museum, we encountered the first American plane to fly across the Atlantic, an incredibly detailed model of the aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, and a multitude of planes from World War I, World War II, and the Vietnam War. In addition to aircraft, the museum also contained a section devoted to the U.S. Navy’s involvement in space travel.  This fascinating day of discovery was topped off by a ride in the Blue Angels flight simulator. Overall, this was an awesome way to spend a rainy day in Pensacola, Florida.

               After a week of rough weather and very limited time on the water, we were finally able to resume our excavations in the bay. Half of the field school went to the barge to work on the Emanuel Point II site where excavations in the amidships unit continued and metal detector surveys were performed. The remaining half of the field school headed to begin excavations on the B-Street Schooner.

                It was a bit of a rocky start for the B-Street team. Not only were the clouds rolling in and the wind picking up when we arrived at the boat launch but a rogue wing nut found its way into the tire of our boat trailer rapidly deflating it. It seemed that all was against us but as the day wore on, the sun came out, the bay calmed down, and our luck changed. We began to excavate the stern of the wreck uncovering hull structure, and collecting wood samples, treenails, concretions, nails, and clay. A large iron object was uncovered, however the use of this object has yet to be determined.

               Not only were we excited to get back in the water but the fish were excited to see us coming. The sheepshead gathered around us to say hello and inspect our work. The day proved to be very successful resulting in a map of the stern portion of the vessel, and the beginning of a nice collection of artifacts.

                 It should also be mournfully noted that today the oil made its first appearance on the Pensacola beaches.

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