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Saint Augustine, Northeast Florida
Going public with archaeology for outreach, assistance to local governments, and service to the citizens and state of Florida. Visit our website at: http://flpublicarchaeology.org/nerc/
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Archive for September 2011

Divers Down - On the River: Further Adventures of the FPAN Site ID Team

St. Johns River
The river was dark and murky - the river held many mysteries in its muddy waters -  boat wrecks, accidents, sinkings, burnings.

Site ID Team
The FPAN Site ID team received a call from a professional diver with an interesting proposal.  His professional diving company locates numerous mysterious wrecks in the course of conducting its underwater business.  Blackwater Divers does insurance inspections, bridge inspections, search and recovery, etc., in the rivers, lakes and off shore waters of Florida.  They heard about the Site Team's business of recording archaeological and historic sites on the Florida Master Site File (FMSF).  Would we want to record some of their wreck finds?  Why yes we would!

Todd Bosinski, Blackwater Divers; Toni Wallace, FPAN-NE; Pete, Daytona Beach News-Journal  Photographer; Jeff Moates, FPAN-WC
So on Wednesday, September 7th, the FPAN team of Sarah Miller and Toni Wallace (FPAN-North East), and Jeff Moates (FPAN-West Central) met up with Todd Bosinski, President of Blackwater Divers, and two reporters from the Daytona Beach News-Journal, Tom Knox and his photographer, Pete.  We met at the St. Johns River in Volusia County.  Todd had a wreck to show us. 

Todd at controls of his dive boat
Side Scanner Screen

Jeff Moates
We motored to the wreck site in Todd's diving boat.  Todd located the completely submerged wreck with his side scanner radar.  Jeff and Sarah donned their diving suits and down they went into the tannin-darkened waters of the river.  Todd, Toni and the reporters photographed and took notes from the boat as a river otter, manatees, and an alligator passed by the boat.
Sarah Miller

Yes, we had quite a wreck.  The boat measured about 60 feet long and 10 feet wide.  Measurements were taken and fixtures identified mostly by feel as the dark waters did not permit visual id's.  The boat was probably an early 20th century gas powered launch, very well made. 

Burned wood planking from the wreck
 There was evidence of burning as a piece of the burned wood was brought to the surface and then returned.  Although none of the superstructure remained, the hull, planking, frames and wood fasteners were preserved underwater.  Even the tiller still worked.  We named the wreck Bosinski's Wreck # 1 as Todd has others to show us in the rivers, lakes and off shore waters of Northeast Florida.   

Site plan of wreck
       Toni will complete the Shipwreck Form for the Florida Master Site File (FMSF) and submit it to the State Division of Historic Resources.  A hand drawn site map of the wreck, prepared by Jeff, an experienced diver and marine archaeologist, will be included.  Bosinski's Wreck #1 will now be listed on the FMSF.   Although the FMSF does not provide for explicit protection of a listed ship wreck, it does record it in case of activities that might negatively impact it in the future.  We commend Todd and his company, Blackwater Divers, for their interest in identifying and recording Florida's marine archaeological resources.   

Tom Knox interviewing Todd Bosinski for the News-Journal
  The Daytona Beach News-Journal has promised a feature article on the dive.  We look forward to continuing our work with Todd.  Next on the schedule, a possible St. Johns River steam boat.  Stay tuned!

"What Is It?" Wednesday: Diver down edition

Today I made a break with Toni Wallace (our Site ID specialist) and West Central Director Jeff Moates to meet up with a local diver in Volusia County.  Our mission: record an underwater wreck for the Florida Master Site File.  You can read about our adventure in a News-Observer article set to print Friday and upcoming blog post by Toni, but for now I'll wet [sic] your appetite with an artifact we observed and left on site.


What is the form of the artifact or help us out with what you think it's made out of.  Any diagnostic information gets you one of our "Nightsoil Happens" t-shirts.  The shirt looks homemade, because it is.

Last week's answer: My best guess is a 1920s reproduction of a famous local portrait near Pisa.

The vase featured portraits of 15th-century figures Federico da Montefeltro and his wife Battista Sforza by Piero della Francesca (thanks to the owner of the artifact who helped research the object and sent me this link).  While the vase replicates this famous 15th century portrait, I do not believe the vase dates to this time.  The makers mark on the bottom of the vase led me to a maker's mark website that said the Mannozzi company was located in Montopoli near Pisa in the 1920's and produced sgraffito ware (Italian Pottery Marks).  For more on sgraffito check out this encyclopedia entry or check out these entries from the Florida Museum of Natural History's digital type collection.

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