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To "Hazard a Turbulent Sea:" Marine Archaeology in the Gulf of Mexico--Examining 500 Years of Exploration and Exploitation

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2016


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  • Documents (21)

Documents

  • 19th Century Workhorses: The Examination of a Centerboard Schooner off Dog Island, Florida. (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Between 2001 and 2003, the Dog and St. George Islands Shipwreck Survey, a research project conducted by the Florida State University Program in Underwater Archaeology, investigated a mid-to-late 19th century wooden-hulled centerboard schooner.  This site, while integral to instructing students on the various methodologies and techniques utilized to conduct archaeological investigations underwater, provides a glimpse into the Gulf of Mexico’s maritime history and culture.  To date, the shipwreck...

  • The 2012 Field Season of the 1630-31 New Spain Fleet Archaeological Project in the Gulf of Mexico (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The 2012 Field season of the 1630-31 New Spain Fleet Project of the Subdirección de Arqueología Subacuática INAH, has been a success and represents a leap in many regards from previous seasons. The project started in the year 1995 and has had many people involved throughout the years implementing diverse search methods and surveys. In the case of the 2012 field season, success came from a thoroughly thought methodological process to present a search area in the Gulf of Mexico where the Admiral...

  • Anona: Historical and Archaeological Evidence of Re-Purposing of an Early 20th Century Steam Yacht. (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    In 1904, an elegant state-of-the-art steam yacht, Anona, rolled off the ways at George Lawley’s Massachusetts shipyard.  Built for entrepreneur and adventurer Paul J. Rainey, Anona reflected the richness and flamboyance of the pre-World War I era.  Sold to Theodore Buhl in 1907, Anona remained a symbol of the extravagance and privilege of the period.  After Buhl’s death, Anona began a 40-year transition that would change it from a luxury yacht of a rich industrialist to a produce freighter...

  • Armed to the Teeth: The Archaeology of Arms Procurement and Use in the Early 19th-Century Gulf of Mexico (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The first half of the 19th-century was a tumultuous period in the Gulf of Mexico as European and regional powers competed for territorial dominance. As immigration into the northern Gulf of Mexico increased, age-old rivalries erupted while new independent nations emerged. In such a climate, maritime supremacy was essential – foreign and local navies representing every major power were present, new and sometimes ad-hoc navies were created, and privateers capitalized on the unrest - often acting...

  • Bold Rascals: The Archaeology of Blockade Running in the Western Gulf (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

      Archaeological study and historical research have combined to present a detailed picture of blockade running in the western Gulf of Mexico during the American Civil War. From the beginning of the conflict until weeks after Appomattox, the Confederate coastline west of the Mississippi was a hive of blockade-running activity, first with sailing vessels and later with steamships. The wrecks of the paddle steamers Will o’ the Wisp, Acadia, and Denbigh, all dating from the final months of the war,...

  • A Deepwater World War II Battlefield: The German U-boat, U-166, and Passenger Freighter Robert E. Lee (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    During World War II, Germany sent their U-boats to the Gulf of Mexico to conduct warfare on merchant shipping.  As a result approximately seventy merchant vessels were sunk or damaged with only one U-boat lost in the Gulf of Mexico during that action.  The wreck sites of the German U-boat, U-166 and it last victim the passenger freighter Robert E. Lee were first investigated by archaeologists in 2001.  Fourteen years of historical and archaeological research reveals the intricacies of this...

  • Defining Blockaders: USS Westfield, USS Hatteras, and their Archaeological Context (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    At the commencement of the US Civil War, the Union devised the Anaconda Plan, implementing a series of blockades of major Confederate ports designed to disrupt Confederate trade and cut off supply lines.  For this plan to succeed, the Union had to enlist the support of a nonexistent patrolling naval fleet. The Navy worked quickly to supplement their fleet, acquiring vessels through a variety of means including those that were purpose-built for the navy, purchased for use by the navy, and/or...

  • The "Discovery" of the Spanish Sea: First Encounters and Early Impressions (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Today, the Gulf of Mexico is known for its abundant marine life, seafood industries, offshore oil and gas development, and as ground zero for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010. To the first Spanish expeditions that "discovered" and explored this immense water body in the 16th century, the Gulf was an enigmatic sea. Spain’s earliest attention focused on establishing ports and settlements along the southern Gulf coast and Caribbean islands to consolidate control in the New World. As the...

  • The First Emanuel Point Ship: Archaeological Investigation of a 16th-Century Spanish Colonization Vessel (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The first Emanuel Point Ship (EPI) was discovered in 1992 and firmly associated with the 1559 colonization fleet of Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano in 1998.  This followed the initial discovery, preliminary investigation, and multi-year excavation accomplished by the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, the Historic Pensacola Preservation Board and the University of West Florida. Since that time, laboratory conservation, additional historical research, the production of numerous student...

  • From "Splinter Fleet" to Easy Street: One Vessel's Journey as a World War I Subchaser and Pleasure Craft (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Though maintaining a neutral stance in the early part of World War I, German U-boat attacks in American waters in 1916 spurred the U.S. Navy to develop a specialized fleet of anti-submarine watercraft. Dubbed "subchasers," these small but remarkably long-range ships played an important role as a deterrent to the U-boat incursion. Purpose-built subchasers were primarily wooden-hulled; however, steel-hulled vessels were donated to the war effort due to wartime shortages. One such vessel, SC-144,...

  • The History and Archaeological Investigations of Nineteenth Century Gunboat USS Castine (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The USS Castine was emblematic of the New Navy’s transformation from wood to steel vessels in the late nineteenth century, and of the evolving use of a vessel over time.  During a 29-year service career spanning the Spanish American War and World War I, the unheralded gunboat proved to be an indispensable workhorse as a blockader, coastal combat vessel, training ship, submarine tender, U-boat chaser, and globetrotting reminder of the long reach of American naval power.  Following the end of its...

  • La Belle: The Archaeology of a Seventeenth-Century Ship of New World Colonization (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    La Belle was a ship used by the seventeenth-century French explorer Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle in his effort to establish a French colony along the northern Gulf of Mexico.  Ultimately La Belle wrecked along today’s Texas Gulf Coast in 1686.  The wreck was discovered in 1995 and resulted in a multi-year year program of excavation, conservation, interpretation, reporting, and exhibition. This paper will present the results of all these phases of  analysis and reporting by summarizing the...

  • The Monterrey Shipwrecks: Current Research Findings (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Research on a cluster of shipwrecks known as Monterrey A, B, and C is providing new information on early 19thcentury regional maritime activity in the Gulf of Mexico. The shipwrecks are nearly 200 miles off the U.S. coast, yet rest within a few miles of each other in water over 1,330 meters deep.  Although the vessels are quite different from one another, their close proximity and shared artifact types suggest they were traveling in consort when a violent event, likely a storm, led to their...

  • New Developments on the Emanuel Point II Shipwreck Project: Ongoing Investigations of a Vessel from Luna’s 1559 Fleet (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Investigations on the second shipwreck identified as a vessel from Don Tristán de Luna y Arellano’s 1559 fleet have intensified during the past year due to successful funding efforts.  The site, known as "Emanuel Point II", is a well-preserved example of ship architecture related to early Spanish colonization efforts. Archaeologists and students from the University of West Florida have focused recent excavations on the vessel’s stern and midships area, and have uncovered new artifacts and...

  • Recycle, Reduce, Reuse: The Development of the Pensacola Snapper Smack (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Penscola, Florida’s red snapper fishery was among the city’s most prosperous industries by the late 19th century. The vessels employed in the fishery, known locally as "snapper smacks", were heavily influenced by the evolving designs of New England fishing schooners, but adapted for conditions encountered in the Gulf of Mexico. And though these designs proved ideal for snapper fishing, external factors reduced capital in the industry and led Pensacola fish houses to simply recycle schooners...

  • The Slave Trade in the Gulf of Mexico: The Potential for Furthering Research through the Archaeology of Shipwrecked Slave Ships (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    For more than 300 years, the slave trade transported human cargo to slave markets along the American Atlantic and Gulf coasts, and throughout the Caribbean. In 1808, Congress banned the slave trade throughout the U.S., although smuggling, especially in the Gulf of Mexico, continued for another half-century. While thousands of slave ship voyages have been documented, only a few slave ships have ever been investigated archaeologically worldwide. In the Gulf of Mexico, an untold number of vessels...

  • "A Stronghold Of Rebellion:" Confederate Defense Of The Central Gulf Coast During The Civil War (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    When the South seceded from the Union in 1861, cotton was the currency they believed would fuel the war effort and bring Britain as an ally to the Southern cause.  Maintenance of two of the critical ports of the antebellum cotton trade, New Orleans, Louisiana, and Mobile, Alabama was key to the Confederacy's survival and ultimately to its failure.  Archaeological investigations at the site of the river defenses in the Mississippi River delta confirmed historical accounts leading to the fall of...

  • Texas’ White Elephant Fleet (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    As part of its effort in World War I, the United States and its Emergency Fleet Corporation (EFC) began an aggressive shipbuilding campaign to counter the merchant shipping losses from Germany’s submarine warfare. Over 100 wooden ships were contracted in the Gulf District (the Gulf Coast west of New Orleans). Construction of these vessels was far slower than anticipated, and when the war suddenly ended, the country was left with a surplus of both complete and incomplete wooden ships. The EFC...

  • The U.S. Naval Brig Somers: A Mexican War Shipwreck of 1846 (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    The brig Somers gained fame in the United States as the setting of a notorious mutiny in 1842 that directly inspired the writing of Herman Melville’s Billy Budd.  The vessel was subsequently lost while on blockade duty off Veracruz during the war between the United States and Mexico in 1846.  Rediscovered in 1986, the wreck was an untouched archaeological resource.  It also served as the means for a pioneering international collaboration between the two former combatants in the management and...

  • "When it’s steamboat time, you steam:" The Influence of 19th Century Steamships in the Gulf of Mexico (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    Driven by technological advances of the industrial revolution and the introduction of the steamboat in the Gulf of Mexico, the economy of the southern United States flourished. When Charles Morgan brought his first steamboat to the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, the stage was set for a commercial venture that helped transform the region. By the mid-19th century steamships served as the primary vehicle to transport agricultural products from the Mississippi River Valley to markets along the east...

  • World War II Shipping in the Gulf of Mexico and the Impact of the German U-boat Threat: the Archaeological Evidence (2016)
    Citation DOCUMENT

    An estimated 56 commercial vessels were sunk by German U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico during targeted campaigns conducted between 1941 and 1943.  In the years since, an estimated 14 of these wrecks have been located and identified with a high degree of confidence.   A number of these sites have undergone varying levels of archaeological analysis, although very few have been scientifically excavated, resulting in little related material culture.  This paper will review the archaeological evidence...

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America