Thursday, March 16, 2017, 8:45 AM: 2nd International Conference on the 1715 Plate Fleet, Gamache-Koger Theatre, Flagler College, St. Augustine, Florida (Day 1)
Sponsored by the 1715 Fleet Society, this Conference was the sequel to the one held in Vero Beach in 2015 as part of the events scheduled in association with the 300th anniversary of the loss of the 1715 Fleet. The morning session included a joint presentation by Dr. John de Bry, Director of the Center for Historical Archaeology Chuck Meade, Director of LAMP ( Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program), the research arm of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum located in St. Augustine, Florida. They spoke on new research regarding the loss of Ribault’s French Fleet at St. Augustine (September 1565).
This was followed by Corey Malcom, of the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum Archaeology Department, who spoke on The Tierra Firme Fleet of 1564 and the Santa Clara site. His presentation ended the morning session and was followed by a catered lunch.
The lunch was held at the Solarium located in Ponce de Leon Hall, which was a short distance from the Gamache-Koger Theatre. Walking to the Solarium we were able to enjoy the sunny (but cool) weather that we were blessed with for the Conference. The buildings of the historic campus were a sharp contrast to the deep blue sky and made for a most enjoyable stroll to lunch. The Solarium is located on the fourth floor of Ponce de Leon Hall. With its many windows and a strong sun shining in the location was perfect for our luncheon.
The afternoon session opened with Dr. John Worth, University of West Florida Archaeology Department, who spoke on De Luna’s failed Colony at Pensacola (1559-1561). Dr. Worth was featured in a related article in the recent edition of American Archaeology, a quarterly publication of The Archaeological Conservancy. Dr. Worth was followed by Manuel Almeida and Teresa Victorero, archaeologists from Havana, Cuba who spoke on the Conservation of the Ines de Soto shipwreck (circa 1570). We were very pleased and honored to have Almeida and Teresa join us at this conference all the way from Cuba.
Approximately 45 people were in attendance. The entire session was filmed by David Lisot.
At the conclusion of the session, the 1715 Fleet Society announced the release of its first publication, Treasures of a Lost Fleet, which was available at that time for purchase. Limited to only 100 numbered copies (with the first 25 signed by the authors) the book was an immediate hit. Sales were brisk. (As of the writing of this report there are only 3 copies left).
Also available was a special commemorative tile created by local artist Warren Clark. Warren’s company is called History Illustrations. He chooses a historical event and illustrates that event on ceramic. The Fleet Society commissioned Warren to create a map of the 1715 Fleet wreck sites and depict important Fleet related recoveries.
He did 40 special tiles all signed and numbered. The tiles were 9” X 13” and were accompanied by a paper parchment like map. Both the title and the paper map are suitable for framing. He also had other items that he created for sale. These items included small tile magnets and tiles framed in wood with a built-in display stand.
Thursday, March 16, 2017, 7:00 PM: Reception, St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum, St. Augustine, Florida
Day 1 of our Conference was topped off with a reception sponsored by the Society at the St. Augustine Pirate and Treasure Museum. Located at 12 S. Castillo Dr., it is right across the street from the Castillo de San Marcos, the oldest masonry fort in the continental United States. The museum was the perfect venue for a reception. It features a wide array of artifacts and displays.
You enter what appears to be an old ship and make your way through the lower decks with displays on either side.
The museum was the perfect venue for a reception. It features a wide array of artifacts and displays. You enter what appears to be an old ship and make your way through the lower decks with displays on either side. Occasionally the sound of a booming cannon can be heard which adds to the experience. We were accompanied by the pirate.
Occasionally the sound of a booming cannon can be heard which adds to the experience. We were accompanied by pirate re-enactors which also created the feeling of actually being on an old pirate ship. Tue gift shop was also open for the members to pick up a souvenir or two. After touring the museum, those in attendance were treated to catered treats outside the museum supplied by Colonial Quarter who catered the event.
After touring the museum, those in attendance were treated to catered treats outside the museum supplied by Colonial Quarter who catered the event.