Student Blog Week 8
7 July, 2014
Monday resumed the 8th week of the field season with three operations being conducted by Group 2 of the combined field school. Work continued in Pensacola Bay on the Emanuel Point II shipwreck with excavations in the midships and the stern portions of the wreck. By the end of the day the group revealed a piece of wood known as a barrel stave in the midships; this would have been one plank comprising a wooden barrel taken onboard the ship. Also, various planking has been revealed in the stern units. With these artifacts coming into sight, the students were able to practice their mapping skills by measuring multiple points within the unit and scaling them down on paper. The other two operations being conducted took place in the Blackwater River to the east of Pensacola. One group got practice with large scale mapping on the City of Tampa wreck, mapping the stern portion along with the enormous propeller that drove the ship. We welcomed a special guest this week, Mr. Brian Abbott, who was gracious enough to give the whole group demonstrations of his sector scan sonar unit. Each group had the chance to set up, deploy, and review the data received by the sonar. With great weather comes a full day in the field.
8 July, 2014
Tuesday brought us another day of great weather for maritime archaeology! We had three operations being carried out today, all along the Blackwater River. One group operating a side scan sonar unit, another worked with Brian Abbott and his sector scan sonar unit, and the third group continuing to dive and map the City of Tampa wreck. The group working the sector scan sonar was not far from the City of Tampa group, just across the river, and had an opportunity to get some images of the Bay Point Mill site, which is believed to have played a role in the life of the City of Tampa vessel before it sank. Deploying the unit multiple times around the site produced some amazing images in water with about a foot or two of visibility. The students and supervisors on the City of Tampa have been doing great work with mapping various parts of the wreck in low visibility conditions. The crew working the side scan sonar unit deployed the unit, mapping the river bed, in the northern Blackwater River, running lines north-south in the search for some new targets to be explored. Halfway through the day the two sonar groups switched spots on the Rhino vessels so each student and supervisor had experience with both pieces of sonar equipment. Check out some of the interesting pictures of our sonar data from the week!
9 July, 2014
Wednesday we received yet another beautiful day to be outside practicing archaeological skills and getting more work done in Pensacola Bay, on the Emanuel Point II site, as well as the Bay Point Mill site in the Blackwater River, and another group was able to operate the sector scan sonar unit in the Blackwater River as well. With more excavations taking place on the Emanuel Point site more of the structural components, outer hull planking, of the ship were revealed in the midship units. Another group was working in the stern units, continuing excavations and revealing more of the ship to later be mapped. Artifacts recovered from today include ceramic sherds from the midships and interesting iron rings from the stern units. The scaled drawings of the units in both areas of the ship will later be incorporated into the overall site plan for EPII to give us a better overall image of how the ship lies underwater. At the Bay Point Mill site located down the Blackwater River, mapping the exposed structures was conducted with hundreds of points being recorded. These maps will also be incorporated into an overall site map. Also, those students and supervisors who have not yet had the chance to operate the sector scan sonar unit was able to do so today.
10 July, 2014
Thursday greeted us with not-so-fair weather but good enough to go out and get a little bit of work done! Also, during the briefing we were able to volunteer to go out and operate the sector scan sonar one more time with our guest Brian Abbott. Three operations were still conducted; those being the Emanuel Point II site, Bay Point Mill site, and sector scan sonar operation in the Blackwater River. The crew out at EPII got a lot of work done in the midships as well as in the stern of the ship. With two dredges running, more structural timbers were revealed in the stern as well as ballast removed in the midship units to expose what lies beneath. A very interesting artifact was recovered from the midship, a piece of coral believed to have been part of the ship’s ballast, or the weight in the center of the ship to keep it upright while sailing. Coral does not have any significant weight but it shows the extent of what could be utilized by sailors and captains of the time. Out at the Bay Point Mill site, mapping was on the agenda to further the overall site plan, in half a day the crew recorded an impressive number of points and measurements. The crew working with Mr. Abbott and his sector scan sonar unit deployed numerous times near the boat ramp to obtain images of the Snapper wreck, those multiple drops will allow for a full mosaic of what lies on the river bed. All crews ended their day early due to upcoming weather conditions and Mr. Abbott was gracious enough to give a presentation on the world of sonar equipment, their uses, and his experiences in the field. The uses of sonar devices are not limited to maritime archaeology but apply to a wide range of studies such as bridge assessments to oceanography. All of us from the UWF Combined Archaeological Field School and Marine Services Center would like to thank Mr. Brian Abbott for coming out and sharing his knowledge of sonar with all of us.
11 July, 2014
Friday resumed normal operations for the field school staff and crew. Clear skies allowed for three operations to be conducted, one on the Emanuel Point II site, the Bay Point Mill site as well as a target diving operation. Target diving took place in the Blackwater River on some potential targets retrieved by side scan sonar data. Buoys marking a target would have two or three divers circle searching and probing the area to find and identify the target. Multiple targets were investigated and many more will be in the near future. The Bay Point Mill crew continued mapping exposed structures and finished the wooden pilings surrounding the site as well as many concrete structures located within the pilings. The EPII crew worked only in the stern to dredge some “fluff” sediment in the unit and further expose the timbers located inside. One group removed this sediment and began taking measurements on the framing planks and outer hull planking, these pieces would have comprised the outer structure of the ship. The second pair of divers continued these points and recorded enough to begin a scaled map of the layout of exposed timbers. Also, divers got another opportunity to practice piece plotting, or mapping an artifact within the unit before they are collected. Today the crew recovered a large fragment of an olive jar which was used by the Spanish to transport liquids while on their voyage overseas. All operations were ended early to return to the Marine Services Center to perform routine maintenance on our vehicles, boats, and equipment. Come back next week for updates on current sites and target dives!
This week we continued out operations at the Emanuel Point II and Baypoint Mill sites. We also had one group spend a day at the City of Tampa site, and received a lesson in the workings of sector scan sonar from Brian Abbot who was our guest for the week.
I was part of the group that went out to the City of Tampa this past week and I was extremely glad to be one of them since it was my first time getting to dive on the site. After a bit of trouble with the visibility, my partner and I got to work mapping some of the machinery on the wreck, and we spent the whole day working on that. The next day I went out to Baypoint for half of the day where we mapped in more of the pilings on the site, and halfway through the day I switched places with another students on the sector scan boat. There we looked at possible shipsways in the Blackwater River, and the Swingbridge wreck near Milton, Fl.
Thursday I was on the sector scan boat again and this time we looked at the Snapper wreck near boat ramp we launched out of, and then we traveled north to look at the Centerboard schooner wreck near Milton. After that we headed back to the Marine Service center and split up with plans to meet on campus later for an exciting lecture from Brian Abbot on imaging using sound.
The last day of the week I was sent out to EPII where I sat snorkel safety all day while two dive teams finished off our most recent stern unit and mapped it