Conservation Research Laboratory Reports

Site 8SJ3478, possibly the Industry: a British 18th-century shipwreck

Summary of Work to Date

SOAR began work in St. Augustine in 1995. Principal investigation to date has been shared by J.W. Morris III and Marianne Franklin. Initial funding was provided by several private sources as well as the Florida Bureau of Historic Preservation, Division of Historical Resources, Florida Department of State, assisted by the Historic Preservation Advisory Council. Funding through July of 2000 has been awarded by the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

Archival research in 1995 created a collection of historic maps and charts that were digitized and overlaid to choose areas of priority for remote sensing survey. An initial magnetometer survey provided 48 targets offshore and five inshore, that have been systematically ground-truthed as time, funding, and weather conditions permit. 

The remote sensing survey continues as funding and access to equipment allows. 

The initial survey was conducted with the gracious donation of time and equipment by Tidewater Atlantic Research, Inc. of Washington, North Carolina under the direction of Dr. Gordon P. Watts. Refinement of targets has been accomplished with the use of magnetometers borrowed from the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research and East Carolina University's Program in Maritime History.

Site 8SJ3478 lies in the initial offshore survey area in approximately eighteen feet of water, less than a mile southeast of the lighthouse. This location would place the wreck in line with the approach to the channel entrance among the bars extant in the eighteenth century.

The sight was ground-truthed and eight cannons and three anchors discovered during the last day of fieldwork scheduled for 1997. One more week of recording the exposed features took place in 1997. The site was relocated and one cannon recovered in June of 1998. After cleaning, the cannon was identified as a 6-pound gun marked with the British Broad Arrow, the crest of King George II (1727-1760), and its weight in hundredweights, marked 17-2-2. Figure 1 shows the gun after cleaning. The gun has been inscribed with the number "10" on the starboard side of the crest. One trunnion bears the marking of a stylized "A" that has yet to be attributed to a certain maker. The gun is currently undergoing electrolytic reduction in a tank situated on the grounds of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum.

Fieldwork in 1998 and 1999 has focused primarily on delineating the boundaries of the site. To date, no extant hull structure has been discovered or recorded. The anchors and guns were clearly stowed at the time of the wreck. Most timbers uncovered have been attributed to a palette or temporary deck structure built for the guns stowage. The amount and concentration of iron deposited on the sea floor has caused most of the wood discovered to be heavily mineralized. 

Artifacts recovered in 1998 were stabilized and some conserved in SOAR facilities in Pensacola. The amount of ferrous material encountered in 1999 required the use of a conservation facility with greater capabilities. At the end of the 1999 field season all artifacts were transported to the Conservation Research Laboratory at Texas A&M University for treatment.

Florida law dictates that all artifacts recovered remain the property of the state. Florida policy allows for long term loan of historic artifacts to qualified facilities for public display and historic interpretation. The Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, Southern Oceans Archaeological Research, and the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum are working towards a permanent exhibit of material recovered from site 8SJ3478 and other wrecks excavated and mapped in the St. Augustine area at the Lighthouse & Museum. 

Citation Information:

Franklin, Marianne
2000, Site 8SJ3478, possibly the Industry: A British 18th-Century Shipwreck, Conservation Research Laboratory Research Report #10, World Wide Web,
URL, Nautical Archaeology Program, Texas A&M University


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