フロリダ タンパベイでのサーヴェイ

フロリダのタンパベイの周辺では16世紀から様々な船が訪れています。その歴史を探るため、フロリダ州専属考古学チームが動き出しました。5万ドルの研究費と100人から成るチームが作られました。まだ結果はこれからですが期待して待ちましょう。

Diving into history
The Florida Aquarium and a team of archaeologists are exploring Tampa Bay, not for aquatic life, but for secrets.
By JOHN BARRY, Deputy Floridian Editor
Published August 8, 2006

Times Staff Writer

ABOARD THE MISS BEE GEE

The sketch pads show the outlines of an 82-foot tugboat that had rolled over on a shoal and died violently, boiler exploding, killing some 30 Union sailors on a stormy Jan. 3, 1866. In the sketches, you can see a long, splintered hull, the massive hulk of a steam engine and drive shaft, a shattered propeller.

Three divers sketch while kneeling, lying and sitting in blue-green murk on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in a nest of stone crabs. Every hour they rise 12 feet to the surface to show what they’ve drawn. These are the first images of the doomed Narcissus in 140 years.

“There will be no recovery whatsoever,” declares Billy Ray Morris, one of three marine archaeologists holding those plastic sketch pads. He pictures the day the sailors died. It was a cold, windy January day. The crew had likely huddled in a cabin next to the boiler to stay warm. Their tug struck the shoals off Egmont Key and flipped on its side, and cold seawater flooded the boiler. The crew never had a chance. They will rest in peace, Morris says.

“Nothing is coming up.”

Not even the stone crabs.

* * *

The bottom of Tampa Bay has never been explored in a comprehensive way. But the Florida Aquarium now has a $50,000 state grant and about 100 divers to do it.

No one really knows what’s in the bay or the Hillsborough River that feeds it. Remnants of all manner of misadventure rest below its tannic waters, but in most places, “it’s pitch black down there,” says Mike Terrell, the aquarium’s diving coordinator. During a dive in the Hillsborough River last March, he found a .38 in the muck and was chased out by a bull shark.

Terrell got the $50,000 grant from the Florida Bureau of Archaeological Research, which keeps track of underwater resources. He has a 26-foot vessel called the Miss Bee Gee a tragic name for a scientific research boat, but, hey, it was donated.

He has two marine archaeologists: Morris and Gordon Watts, and their graduate assistant, Nicole Tumbleson. And Terrell has a small navy of volunteers yearning for open-water diving and exploration.

Part of the motivation is scientific research, part of it a desire to decorate the aquarium’s “big blank” shark tank with replicas of sunken Tampa Bay paddle wheel steamers. Another part is to recruit more volunteer divers to the aquarium, which relies on unpaid help to keep the algae off that shark tank.

Retired Air Force bombardier Dave Grenda and his wife, Fran, are among the volunteers. They’ve been cleaning the shark tank since 1998, where the inhabitants treat them cordially, “as fellow predators.”

The Tampa Bay project “will be quite a bit different,” Dave Grenda says. “It’s like treasure hunting, uncovering stuff hidden for hundreds of years.”

* * *

They started with the mother lode at Egmont Key. The Army Corps of Engineers found 34 deposits of metal during a dredging survey a couple of years ago.

“Twenty-eight of them were crap – old pipes, spools of wire, modern anchors – but six of them were significant,” Terrell says. Those include the wreck of the Narcissus and a second, mystery hulk they call “Shake’s Wreck.”

The Hillsborough River may be the next richest site. Somewhere in it lies the remains of the Scottish Chief, a paddle wheel steamer that Capt. James McKay, a Confederate blockade runner, used to smuggle goods from Cuba during the Civil War.

In the fall of 1863, Yankee soldiers caught up with the Scottish Chief and burned it and the 156 bales of cotton it was carrying. Terrell thinks the wreck lies near Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo.

The divers also plan to hunt off Gulfport, where a steamship called the Mary Disston was deliberately sunk in 1892 after it caught fire. And they’ll take a look at Bahia Beach in Ruskin, where someone found a pile of cannonballs in the 1980s.

Terrell knows all this after combing old marine salvage contracts. Most of those contracts ended “in train wrecks,” meaning not much was found. But Terrell says the fact that salvagers were looking for something is intriguing. “They are places to begin.”

* * *

Archaeologists Morris and Watts are leading the hunt. Since 1991, they’ve been exploring the rich waters of St. Augustine, where warships have been sinking since the 16th century. One of their most significant discoveries was a Colonial vessel that went down in 1763. It had been carrying supplies to Florida’s starving “43rd Regiment Afoot” when it sank, laden with muskets, ammunition and teapots.

In Tampa Bay, “most of what we find will be 19th century stuff,” Morris says, “and a lot of trash, too.” (One of his earlier Tampa Bay finds was a 1957 Hudson hubcap.)

* * *

The explorers aren’t going to get very wet during the first phase of the search. That involves crisscrossing the targeted sites with electronic devices that help them locate masses of metal. They’ll have side scan sonar, which uses sound echoes to create a picture of the bottom, and a magnetometer, which dips or points toward a source of magnetism.

They want to finish that phase by mid December, then do more diving.

At that point, the state will review the findings and decide whether to continue the grant.

Something about Tampa Bay, tropically turbulent in August, September and October, and Florida’s age-old history of big blows and shipwrecks causes a chill on the decks of the Miss Bee Gee. Last week, Tropical Storm Chris petered out before it could reach the gulf, but it reminded the divers what part of the year they’re working in.

“Unfortunately,” Terrell says, “grant season coincides with hurricane season.”

John Barry can be reached at (727) 892-2258 or jbarry@sptimes.com.

[Last modified August 8, 2006, 09:36:12]

引用元:http://www.archaeologynews.org/Link.asp?ID=102446&Title=Diving%20into%20history

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