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Science aids inventory of Florida Keys shipwrecks

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Author Topic: Science aids inventory of Florida Keys shipwrecks  (Read 124 times)
Twilight of the Gods
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« on: June 14, 2009, 04:32:27 am »


They will then take the pieces of coal they have brought ashore to the Florida Geological Survey and search in the archives of admiralty courts to see if they can find out what ship this is.

''Sometimes you never do find the name of a ship,'' Smith said.

This particular ship is not very well-preserved. It's exposed to the elements and not totally buried.

''Part of all this is detective work and making conclusions based on hard evidence,'' he said. ``You have to let the shipwreck tell its own story. Sometimes it's tempting to hypothesize what a site might be.''

There are several references to ships going down in the area, said Brenda Altmeier, program support specialist at NOAA's Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

She says she ''can't help but think of the people aboard . . . just the fear and panic,'' she said.

This project is a partnership between the Division of Historical Resources and the sanctuary.

''It's merging two sciences. it's biology merging with archaeology,'' she said.

So far it's known this wasn't a sailing ship, senior archaeologist Franklin Price said. It had no ballast or evidence of rigging to hold up a mast or sails.

Smith said there are many filters archaeologists have to get past when analyzing a wreck, including time, the sea and animals.

But the wreck has also become a breeding ground for new life. It is a bustling reef with hard and soft coral and home to many different kinds of fish including a great barracuda, a scorpion fish and even a spotted eagle ray.

Smith has also devised a seminar to educate dive trainers about respecting Florida shipwrecks.

''We find, as archaeologists, that there isn't any future, it's just the past repeating itself,'' he said.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2009, 04:35:50 am by Twilight of the Gods » Report Spam   Logged

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