Susie Forrester, University Communications
Hiding under the surface of the Gulf of Mexico’s waters are numerous fragile historic shipwrecks left behind by the Pensacola area’s previous inhabitants, some hundreds of years ago.
The University of West Florida and the state of Florida have identified 50 underwater sites. UWF archaeologists have investigated about 18 of those, with the most noteworthy being Spanish colonial ships including the two Emanuel Point shipwrecks and the Santa Rosa Island Shipwreck.
“All of these sites relate to Pensacola’s history, its founding, its commercial activities (fishing and lumbering) and its designation as the ‘City of Five Flags,’” said John Bratten, associate professor and chair of the Department of Anthropology, which is part of the Division of Anthropology and Archaeology. “The sites are important to the overall study of nautical archaeology, colonial life and seafaring, shipbuilding, and seafaring traditions. We have an unprecedented nautical archaeology laboratory in our backyard that attracts students to UWF for these same reasons.”
The sites are summer classrooms for maritime students from the UWF Anthropology Department maritime archaeology field school. They also serve as thesis topics for master’s level students as well as lecture topics in a variety of courses. Full story