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The University of West Florida's Maritime Archaeology Field School
The University of West Florida's Maritime Archaeology Field School

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WEEK 10 STUDENT BLOG

The final week of maritime summer field school was another great success. The weather again held out nicely and provided excellent conditions for working dives in the low visibility environments found in Pensacola Bay and Blackwater River.

 

On our last day we continued conducting excavations into some of the new units in the stern area of EPII. The visibility that day was better than most days exceeding 5 feet, which was perfect for dredging down and mapping in the visible wooden timbers and concretions that made up the ship’s hull structure.

 

The day was also divided with excavations in EPII and target diving for the first discovered ship in the fleet known as EPI. The target diving implemented a circle search method for attempts at locating the ballast pile underwater after the known GPS coordinates are marked with line and buoy.

 

On Saturday the field schools gathered at the UWF Archaeology Institute for the annual end of dig party. We celebrated with a pot luck cook out that followed with presentations by supervising graduate students on the different field schools that had taken place over the summer. 
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8/9/14
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WEEK 9 STUDENT BLOG

Mike Hewlett:

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!
 
Marla Wankowski:
 
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.

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Brian Abbott talks Sector Scan Sonar!

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Student Blog Week 8
Mike Hewlett:

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!
 
Marla Wankowski:
 
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
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2014-07-16
6 Photos - View album

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An exciting guest,Bryan Abbott, has been with us in the field this week showing all the students sector scan sonar. Sector scan uses sound waves to render an image of the seafloor. 
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2014-07-10
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Just some photos of one of the sites we have been working on this summer!

Bay Point Mill is located in  Bagdad, Florida and operated as a lumber mill and shipyard from the early 1800s until the mid 1900s. This summer students have been mapping an area of structure that is believed to be a wharf that was once associated with the mill.
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2014-07-10
4 Photos - View album

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Student Blog Week 7
by: Jason Edgar and Kenyan Murrell

Monday June 30, 2014
The second week of maritime summer field school was very successful. The weather provided excellent conditions for working and diving in the low visibility environments found in Pensacola Bay and Blackwater River. After equipment preparation at the UWF Marine Services Center, two groups set out for the day’s work. Group one went to the Emanuel Point 2 shipwreck site where they conducted probe surveys off the midship and stern in hopes of further locating the perimeter of the wreck. Dredge excavation work was conducted in the stern and midship sections. A notable find was an olive jar fragment the size of a dollar bill.
Group two traveled to Bay point to conduct side scan sonar survey and target dives to investigate prospective locations. They had a successful day and were able to identify areas that are of interest for future work for the Maritime Archaeology program at UWF.

Tuesday July 1, 2014
Tuesday was a continuation of Monday’s work, group one continued to focus on probe survey work while a small team of individuals worked on dredge excavation. The dredge team made an exciting find which ended in slight disappointment when a modern wine jug was discovered. The initial excitement of the divers turned into the dulling realization that the jug was not related to the shipwreck and was actually garbage that had been deposited on the wreck by a recent storm or an inconsiderate fisherman.

Wednesday July 2, 2014 
The groups were split between the maritime sites in the Blackwater River and Pensacola Bay. The Blackwater group worked on mapping in points in the stern section of The City of Tampa – a 19th century single screw steamer that sank at the mouth of the bay in the early 20th century during a fire –  and the remains of Bay Point Mill’s shipping wharf.  The other half of the group continued working on opening up units in the stern and mid-ship of EPII.

Thursday July 3, 2014
The group sent out to EPII finished a couple of units in the stern section for the week with mapping and measuring artifacts and features. We also conducted dives to check the conditions of anchor lines and base line conditions before the holiday weekend.  Happy 4th of July everyone! 

Look on as students dredge in the midship units in the video!

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Week 6 Student Blog
By: Matt Newton and Nikki Mauro
 
Monday marked the beginning of the second half of the 2014 Maritime Field School season. The students that were working on land for the first five weeks are now in the maritime portion for the remaining five weeks. Unfortunately, weather was less than stellar this first week and we were hit with rain delays almost everyday. On Monday, the students were oriented with getting the boats, vans and equipment ready for the day’s operations before the staff and crew all headed out to the Emmanuel Point II shipwreck for a site orientation. Only half of the students were able to get a site orientation dive in before the dives were called due to weather. The day ended early once back at MSC with an imminent flood warning.
Dives operations were immediately called on Tuesday due to weather. So, students spent the day going over mapping skills including baseline offset measurements, piece plotting, and mapping full units. The students had to pretend like they were underwater during the entire activity, which meant they could not talk, but rather had to communicate with hand signals only. Ben Wells, the field director for the UWF maritime field school, and Bert Ho, with the National Park Service Submerged Resource Division, then treated the students to presentations for the remainder of the workday.
On Wednesday, Chris Horrell and Herb Leedy from the Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement visited and gave an engaging presentation on their department and the projects they have going on all over the world. The weather looked like it was going to cooperate after the morning lecture, so the staff and crew were able to head out to the Emmanuel Point II to finish dive orientations and continue looking for the mast steps of the ship. Some students were able to get into some units in the stern and use the dredge for the first time in the bay.
Thursday morning was met with overcast skies and storm threats. Dive safety officer Fritz Sharar, along with Chris Horrell and Herb Leedy, led an oxygen administration course for staff and students. The weather was still overcast but the crew split up and headed out to Emmanuel Point II and the Baypoint Mill site on the Blackwater River. At Emmanuel Point II, students continued to dredge in units in the midships and stern portions of the wreck. At Baypoint, the crew took baseline-offset measurements for the north and south portions of the site. No matter the site, the students are met with challenges to overcome as part of the learning process.
The end of the week brought favorable weather. The students split off like the previous day with more students going to Emmanuel Point II. Dredge work continued on midships and stern units. At Baypoint, new datum points had to be put in due to an error in the baseline from a boat going through it. Other students snorkeled around to search for terra cotta tiles with legible manufacturer names. A rough sketch of the site was also created. Stay tuned for more as the crew continues operations into the heart of summer. Hopefully the weather will cooperate with research objectives!

Check out these pics from EPII when we had great visibility!
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2014-07-07
25 Photos - View album

Week 5 Student Blog

Monday, June 16th 
We went to the City of Tampa wreck and checked on the base line, did a general site assessment of its condition, and then removed the pin flags from last year. Group two went out to  Emanuel Point II wreck where they started excavations of two units at once made possible by our brand new induction pump! One dredge was pumping on the midship the other dredge was working on the stern. We also were able to open up a new unit the stern. In the midship units planking was also becoming visible. At the end of the work day we went through the dredge spoil and there we found mammalian skeletal remains, fish vertebra, small iron concretions, ceramic sherds, and some flora remains. It was a great day for archaeology. All artifacts were bagged tagged and catalogued. 
A. Martin 

Tuesday 17 June
Today we took out two crews to separate locations. One crew went to the EPII wreck in the bay to work, while the other crew went to the Blackwater River. The EPII crew opened up a new midship unit today, and several artifacts were recovered such as bone, wood, and resin. The Blackwater crew went out to do some mapping of the Bay Point site. Two members of that crew mapped the boiler structure that lies along the shoreline while the rest of the crew mapped an area slightly off shore that is believed to be the potential location of the old Bay Point Wharf.
C. Coutuier

Wednesday June 18th
On Wednesday, June 18th the students were split into two different dive groups. One group went out to the Emanuel Point II shipwreck in the bay and the other went to the Killian shipwreck in the Blackwater River. At the Killian, the divers mapped the port and starboard sides of the vessel. They were able to get two dives in throughout the day. Overall, it was a very successful day. On the Emanuel Point II wreck students excavated units in both the stern and the midship area of the vessel. In the midship portion of the wreck, students also mapped timbers they uncovered while excavating.
A. Burkhard

Thursday June 19th
Today we launched from Sunset boat ramp to dive on two wrecks known as the Rhoda and Rosario. Both wrecks are located waters that range from 17-30 feet of water. Once we approached the GPS coordinates, we sent teams down to perform a circle search to confirm the wreck location. Today was more of a fun day where we got to "roam" these sites on our own, it was a great experience. The visibility was awesome which allowed us to see all kinds of marine species that call these wrecks home. Not only did we see a variety of fish, we saw all kinds of things ranging from a TV to a toilet on the bottom of these wrecks. You could tell that these wrecks were popular among the local fisherman because of the amount of lines caught up in the debris. The Rosario site had a great amount of red snapper and gag grouper. The numbers surprised me because this wreck is still within the bay, most of the time to find these species, you have to travel out of the bay limits. We were able to get three dives in if we wanted to, I took advantage of this opportunity and had a great time examining these two sites and I really enjoyed the great visibility that allowed me to see the variety of sea life down on the bottom.
M. Austin

Friday June 20th
We began our day with the usual vigor and enthusiasm, loading up the boats, and gearing up for the days dive ops. Half of the group went to Blackwater to target dive on sidescan sonar targets, and check out the boiler material on the shore line. After some examination by Wayne Abrahamson, it is now believed that one of the structures is actually part of a boiler. The rest seems to be holding tank for water which would have been used in the boiler. The half of the crew returned to EPII to perform some work on the units, and meet with the Dive team from the National Park Service. We were all excited to be able to give them a tour of the EP site. As this is our groups last day of maritime field school we ended the day on a light note, BBQing and enjoying the last bit of the day.
S. Ashley 

5 Week Wrap-Up
These past five weeks have definitely gone by too fast. When we met together for the first time we all knew very little about the archaeological skills we needed to be successful (or at least, that was my case). But that's okay, because they taught us well. So well, in fact, that we were a well oiled machine! We also were able to apply these skills in all types of environments ranging from the dark, murky Black water river, to the Pensacola bay area, to places in between. Some of these archaeological sites included ongoing sites like Emmanuel Point II, the Killian, or Bay Point Mill, and finished sites like the Rhoda and the Rosario. All in all, it was a fantastic experience and will be treasured as the official starting points of our careers.

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A beautiful day for site assessments in Pensacola Pass!
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