300-Year-Old Treasure Trove Ancient Cannon to Be Raised
Scanlan, Dan, The Florida Times Union
The cannon has rested at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean a
half-mile off St. Augustine for more than three centuries, with
the hull of what experts say is a 17th century Spanish merchant
vessel slowly disintegrating around it.
Now, the archaeologists who discovered the wreck last fall plan
to retrieve the cannon and embark on a year's worth of
exploration in waters off the nation's oldest city.
The cannon's retrieval by the non-profit Southern Oceans
Archaeological Research Inc. is the first in a series of
explorations set for this summer.
After the cannon is donated to the city's first maritime
archaeology display at the St. Augustine Lighthouse Museum,
divers will research the origin and identity of the wreck.
They will then begin the first large-scale search of other
historic wrecks off Northeast Florida, a quest described by
Eugene Lyon, director of Flagler College's Center for Historical
Research, as an archaeologist's dream after years of wondering
what lies in St. Augustine's historic waters.
The shipwreck discovery was the result of the first-ever
search for wrecks offshore of St. Augustine last fall.
Since then, researchers have uncovered leads to the ship's
identity and lined up $60,000 in grants to begin the next phase
of exploration, $20,000 from the Florida's Historic Preservation
After they retrieve the cannon on June 2, archaeologists will
see what is under the other cannons, anchors, cannonballs and
stone grinding wheel.
Working with an East Carolina University archaeology team,
divers will look deeper into three nearby 19th-century
shipwrecks and other possible sites. …