After a quick turnaround trip to Key West last week, the Sea Reaper crew returned to the site of the Santa Margarita to continue working. The first day on site was full of artifact recoveries, including the usual ships fittings such as spikes and lead sheathing, as well as olive jar sherds. Later in the afternoon, we repositioned the Sea Reaper to the far northern end of the known wreck scatter, just north of three broken Margarita anchors. These anchors are large, and since they were broken, would have been carried in the lower portion of the ship as ballast.
When we began excavations in this area, we recovered a large spike and some small iron tacks. Then, Josh Fisher recovered a lead musket ball, and Missy Parker recovered a portion of an arquebus barrel about fourteen inches long. Each of these recoveries is another solid clue since they are not part of the ship’s construction such as spikes, pins, lead sheathing or rigging. Artifacts such as a musket ball or an arquebus could be cargo or personal effects, and to find them this far on along this scatter of material is a positive indication that other items could have made it this far as well. If these artifacts were carried in the munitions area of the ship, or with the personal effects of a passenger, they could be associated with other intrinsically valuable martial that was stowed or smuggled in the same region of the ship. Based on the location of these recoveries, we at MRR consider these artifacts to be associated with the first storm influence, which initially sank and scattered the Santa Margarita to the north.
Musket ball and arquebus barrel recently recovered from the Santa Margarita.
Also on this trip, we welcomed aboard visitors from an outdoor network, BD Outdoors. They were shooting an upcoming episode of the fishing show Local Knowledge. The fishing and film crew are all great guys and we greatly appreciate their professionalism and generosity. The Sea Reaper crew enjoyed having them on board, and of course, we’re all looking forward to seeing the episode.
Local Knowledge film crew shoots footage of Capt. Dan Porter
with divers Levin Shavers and Missy Parker.