Elbow Reef’s Landscape of Salvage

Author(s): Matthew S. Lawrence; Jay V. Haigler

Year: 2016


Jutting into the Gulf Stream, Elbow Reef has claimed numerous vessels, particularly steamships, over the last 150 years. Today, these shipwrecks attract hundreds of divers and snorkelers visiting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Archaeological research has revealed the histories of several Elbow Reef shipwrecks, but time has shrouded the identities of others until recently. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) is partnering with Diving With a Purpose (DWP) to reveal the history of this treacherous reef. Identifying and mapping previously unnamed shipwrecks lost on the reef has allowed archaeologists to investigate the activities of salvagers working to recover machinery and cargo. Furthermore, comparison of similar archaeological sites within a distinct geographic area has revealed new stories of the highly-skilled Florida Keys wreckers.

Cite this Record

Elbow Reef’s Landscape of Salvage. Matthew S. Lawrence, Jay V. Haigler. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Washington, D.C. 2016 ( tDAR id: 434662)

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Temporal Keywords
1850 - 1925

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 103