Green Cabin Shipwreck, Florida (c. 1620)

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History of the wreck

The Green Cabin Wreck was located in the early 1960s by treasure hunter Kip Wagner in Florida and first believed to be one of the 1715 fleet wrecks. Based on the fact that none of the coins found in it dated after 1618, the treasure hunters thought it to be an early 17th century wreck instead. Eugene Lion later tentatively identified it as the San Martin, a 300 tons ship built in Vizcaya that left Havana to Spain in September 1618 and disappeared soon after, off the coasts of Florida during a storm. To support this hypothesis one of four bronze cannons retrieved from the site bears the date 1594. It was salvaged continuously for decades and its remains published by the archaeologist David Moore.


Description of the Site

The hull structure was preserved in an area of 10.5 x 5.5 m and was composed of keel, keelson, floors, some futtocks and planking.

Keel

A portion of the keel was preserved, showing a possible scarf on its forward most section. No dimensions are given. The keelson was preserved along 5.8 m and notched over the floors. It was 25 cm molded. As to its sided dimension, it tapered from 43.7 cm at its forward end above the second floor before the midship floor, to 30 cm at its preserved after end, over the eleventh floor abaft the midship floor. No information is given on the maststep, although from the published drawing it seems that it was an enlarged portion of the keel.

Frames

The (only) midship floor is fastened to two pairs of futtocks, fore and aft, determining the framing pattern – the futtocks joined to the faces of the floors that look to the extremities of the ship. Sixteen frames were preserved, the floors measuring around 5.3 m in length. The midship floor was 35.5 cm molded over the keel. The sided dimension of the floors averaged 19.1 cm and the room and space averaged 42.6 cm.

Floors and futtocks were fastened with dovetail joints.

Planking

The preserved planking consisted on 12 strakes including the garboards, all 8.25 cm thick and 20-40 cm wide, nailed and treenailed to the frames.

Ceiling, thick stuff and wales

It seems that no ceiling was preserved.

Fastenings

The planking was fastened to the frames with treenails  2.9 cm and square iron nails 1.3 cm on a side. At least one plank showed to be fastened with one treenail and four nails at its end.

Caulking

Lead sheathing fastened with small square tacks or nails, probably over the whole hull. Not explained if just over the seams or over the entire hull. Canvas in between the lead sheets and the hull.

Ballast

It had a cement like ballast between the floors and a regular layer of round stones over it.

Size and scantlings

It is thought to have a length of keel of about 21.58 m, a breath of 8.14 m, and a depth in hold of 4.08 m.

Construction Feature Sided (cm) Molded (cm)
Keel Unknown Unknown
Keelson 30-43.7 25
Floors 19.1 Unknown
Futtocks Unknown Unkown
Room-and-space 42.6 N/A
Planking 19-38 8.25


Wood

The planking was oak.


References

Smith, Roger, New World Shipwrecks, 1500-1800: A Compendium of Sites Salvaged or Excavated, December 1978;

Moore, David & Muir, Bill "Archaeology of the San Martin" Seafarers (1987) Vol. I, The Atlantic Alliance for Maritime Heritage Conservation, Key West, Florida.

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