Hook, Line, and Sinker: Historical and Archaeological Investigations of the Snapper Wreck (8SR1001)

Jason Thomas Raupp

          The remains of a shipwreck known as the Snapper Wreck (8SR1001) were archaeologically investigated in 2001. Although the specific identity of the wreck is unknown, local historical information suggests an association with Pensacola's red snapper fishery. The red snapper fishery that developed in Pensacola, Florida, in the late nineteenth century played an important role in the establishment of the city as a major port on the northern Gulf coast. By the end of the nineteenth century, snapper fishing was a booming industry and a major contributor to the city's economy. Integral to the success of the industry were the two masted schooners locally known as Pensacola snapper smacks. Historical research focused on construction features of both New England and Gulf coast fishing vessels. Data recovered from the shipwreck closely matches historical the construction features identified. Analysis of these features and other information recorded from the Snapper Wreck, such as size and a wood sample analysis, produced inferences about a possible New England origin and a relative temporal operating range for the vessel of 1890 to 1936.