Thursday, March 29, 2018

GTM Reserve's Picture Post for documentation of climate change over time
If a picture tells a thousand words, the one above tells several thousand!

The theme of this year's Florida Archaeology Month is "Heritage at Risk." We figured what better way to conclude FAM than to highlight a very obvious at risk heritage site.

increasingly exposed Minorcan well located in GTM Reserve
Built by the Minorcans in the early 1800's, this coquina block well is located on Shell Bluff Landing in the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve (Or GTM for short!)    The GTM set up this "picture post" several years ago to help "study how climate change is affecting habitat."     Visitors were instructed to set up their cameras, take several pictures of the shoreline and well and then send the pictures into the GTM.  Researchers could then use the pictures to observe the changes over a "long timescale."

Due to wave and wind erosion, the well has been increasingly exposed.  The well was originally located 30-50 meters (98 to 164 feet) inland, but the shoreline has been eroding over time.  Thanks to Hurricanes Matthew and Irma, our "long timescale" became quite shortened!    In just a year's time, the ground surrounding the well was stripped away, exposing most of its coquina blocks.  The picture post has now slid down the bluff, points at an angel and will eventually fall completely over.  If you now placed your camera on this post, it would slide onto the ground! (Not good for photo taking).

FPAN staff in process of 3D imaging through photogrammetry 

There is a lot of discussion in how the well can be preserved, but it's fate is unkown at this point.  So, we can now at least record it as best as we can.  This part of our State's history is endangered of being destroyed but if well recorded, it will not be endangered of being forgotten.

Text and Images by FPAN Staff: Robbie Boggs

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