The Sea Reaper crew has just returned from the site of the Santa Margarita. The winter months in Key West can be quite a challenging time to conduct marine archaeology projects. MRR does its best to take full advantage of any breaks in the weather offered by mother nature. Over the past weekend, the Sea Reaper crew were ready for this kind of opportunity and left the dock Saturday morning with a potential chance to conduct recovery operations on Motivation Inc.’s site of the Margarita. With winds gusting over 20 knots on Sunday, the crew had to stand down, but Monday and Tuesday were full work days and the crew made a lot of progress while working along a scatter trail of material on the site.
MRR diver Josh Fisher-Abt documents artifacts on the Margarita site.
On the last trip to the Margarita, the Sea Reaper gained very important locational data. The crew was investigating magnetometer anomalies far to the east of the main wreck scatter, along a dispersal trail that MRR has been working and developing for the last two years, when divers located some very important artifacts. These artifacts included four large-caliber musket balls, four pieces of lead sheathing, an assortment of olive jar sherds, and most importantly, a silver coin.
An assortment of artifacts recovered on this trip.
On this trip, with only two work days in the weather forecast, the Sea Reaper continued excavation along this newly developing scatter trail. Divers located thirteen olive jar sherds, a ship’s spike, a barrel hoop fragment and two other unique artifacts. One of the unique artifacts was an entire barrel hoop—an iron band that would have held together a wooden barrel. This barrel hoop was twisted beyond imagination and leads one to think about how it got into this shape during the chaotic sinking of the Santa Margarita. The other unique artifact was a large base of an olive jar jug. The majority of the olive jars recovered from shipwrecks of this period have rounded bottoms, while this rarer artifact has a flat bottom. This base was found by Jack Ledee, a potential new diver on the MRR team.
Jack LeDee and Levin Shavers recover unique artifacts from the Margarita,
including a twisted iron barrel hoop and a round ceramic base of an olive jar.
The Sea Reaper has already been prepared for the next trip to the Margarita. Stand by for the next update.