- Florida's Lost Galleon: The Emanuel Point Shipwreck ed. by Roger C. Smith
Four hundred years after Tristán de Luna y Arellano led an ill-starred Spanish expedition of exploration to settle the Florida frontier and lost six ships in a hurricane, Roger C. Smith, state underwater archaeologist for the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, led his team in the thrilling discovery of the shipwreck known as Emanuel Point I Ship in Pensacola Bay. This substantive book integrates the colorful historical narrative from Spanish manuscripts with archaeological evidence from artifacts recovered from the wreck, possibly Luna's flagship. The authors, who were part of the archaeological team, vividly convey the excitement of historical research and the discovery of the lost galleon, as well as the tedium and the challenges of the archaeological process.
John E. Worth, an associate professor at the University of West Florida, spent three months in the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, researching primary documents. The accounts found there document details of the Luna entrada voyage, including the financing, construction, purchase, and lease of six 100-ton ships and the logistical planning deemed necessary to support a successful voyage of exploration and colonization. This planning included the recommended drafts for vessels to enter and leave rivers and bays on the Florida coast, the number of horses and men on board, an itemized list of more than a million pounds of food, and the number of artillery pieces needed to defend the ships against Indians. Sources reveal that the Spanish crown financed acquisition of the fleet and payment of the officers and crew, reflecting the importance of the mission. Fascinating details emerge about the members of the expedition, who included, among others, cavalry, infantry, royal treasury officials, Dominican missionaries, craftsmen to construct new towns, soldiers' wives and children, black servants, and Indians.
Underwater archaeologists James D. Spirek and Joseph Cozzi supplement the historical research with data from archaeological investigations. Their chapter introduces readers to the importance of asking specific research questions to prioritize areas of excavation and to address concerns about site preservation and the spatial distribution and provenance of finds. The discussion of archaeological methodology encompasses the systematic search for [End Page 138] the wreck, the creation of a mapping grid, and the careful removal of ballast stones and sediment layers to reveal the cargo beneath. Ultimately, the excavations uncovered 40 percent of the wreck of a large sixteenth-century ship—the most likely candidates, based on construction and wood analysis, are the San Andres, Luna's flagship Jesús, or the vice flagship San Juan de Ulúa.
John R. Bratten analyzes a plethora of artifacts encountered on the wreck and restored in his laboratory. The team recovered more than 5,300 items—cookware, dinnerware, seeds and nuts, armament and armor, coins, ships' hardware, and apothecary artifacts—that provide new clues about diet, defense, and ship design. Among the assemblage were preserved remains of pigs, goats, cows, chickens, and fish. Studies of unwanted stowaways, such as cockroaches, hide beetles, rats, and mice, support hypotheses that ships carried well-established populations that voyaged with colonists to the New World.
The book also describes the development of the discipline of maritime archaeology and public outreach efforts in Florida through the establishment of a vibrant, funded academic program at the University of West Florida. While details of ship construction may lose the nonspecialist reader, this captivating book is a literary landmark detailing Florida's colonial experience, and it is a compelling text for any student of maritime history and archaeology.