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FindingtheFrenchFleetFrenchFleet Nearly450yearsagoin1565ourFrenchshipssankandwerelostoFloridasAtlanticcoastdeeatedintheghttostakeaclaimtothelushgreenlandthatwouldbecometheUnitedStatesoAmerica.Anyothemioundwouldconstitutetheonly16th-centuryFrenchvesselknownanywhereintheNewWorld.2 TissummerscientistsandarchaeologistswillsetouttondthewrecksotheFrencheetandtotellstorieskepthiddenbeneaththesea.Inanticipationothe450thanniversaryin2015otheoundingoSt.AugustineandthelossotheFrenchFleettheLight-houseArchaeologicalMaritimeProgramLAMPtheresearcharmotheSt.AugustineLighthouseandMuseumhopestolocatetheFrencheet.InpartnershipwiththeCenterorHistoricalArchaeologyandtheinstituteoMaritimeHistoryandsupportedbytheNationalOceanographicandAtmo-sphericAdministrationNOAAOfceoOceanExplorationandResearchLAMPDirectorChuckMeideandtheCenterorHistoricalArchaeologysJohndeBrywillleadamonth-longeorttondLaTrinitandhersistershipslostourandahalcenturiesearlier.3 QuestournBackimeTisAugustscientistsandarchaeologistsaboardtheRopersearchorthewrecksotheFrencheetoCapeCanaveral.AmongthemoderndebrisotheUnitedStatesspaceprogramtheyllsithesandorhintsothetreasureoLaTrinitandherthreesisterships.AllourwerelostinapowerstrugglebetweenJeanRibaultcommanderotheFrencheetandPedroMenndeztheSpaniardwhostemmedthetideoFrenchcolonizationoFloridaseemingtocallontheweatheritselinhisvictory.44 UsingtowfshsensorsthatinterpretsoundwavesandmagnetismtonarrowtheirhunttheRopercrewwillzoominontheirtargetswiththehelposcubadiversandocuscloselywithhand-heldinstrumentation.TeyareaidedbytheirknowledgeowhateachotheshipscarriedascargoandbynewclueslocatedalongtheCanaveralNationalSeashore.Teendoacenturies-longmysteryisathand.AnyoneotheourwreckswouldoerasingulartimecapsuleoeringinsightintotheancientsettlementsandnewstoriesaboutSt.AugustinejustastheoldestU.S.citypreparestocelebratethe450thanniversaryoitsounding.5 FranoisIofFrancereigned1515to1547APieceotheActionItis501yearssinceSpanishexplorerJuanPoncedeLonseteyesonFlorida.His1513arrivalmarkedthefrsttimeinrecordedhis-torythataEuropeanvisitedthelushwarmpeninsula.SomesaytheobjectoPoncedeLonsquestwasthemythicalFountainoYouthiyoudrankromityouwouldnevergrowoldbuthis-toriansagreethathisgoalwasconqueringnewlandsorSpain.TeFrenchtoowantedashareintherichesothenewlands.FranoisIknownbyhissubjectsasFranoisauGrandNezFranoisotheBigNosefnancedexplorationsotheAmericas6IwouldliketoseetheclauseinAdamstestamentthatexcludesmefromsharingtheworld. CatherinedeMediciinpower1547to1589romNewoundlandtoBrazil.In1562CatherinedeMediciQueenMotheroFranceandthemostpowerulwomanohertimeinEuropeagreedtobackanexpeditiontoFloridaorthepurposeoestablishingacolony.CatherineshopewasthatinoeringareugetoProtestantHuguenotsshewouldstemcivilwarathome.BesidesestablishingaortwouldassuretheFrenchapieceotheactionacutotheresourcesandbountyprom-isedbythenewcontinent.AtthehandsoSpanishCatholicPedroMenndezmostotheFrenchnew-comerswouldcometoabloodyend.7 RibaultaSeaCaptainIn1562JeanRibaultledacontingentoshipsacrosstheAtlanticskirt-ingSpanishwarshipsandscoutedtheareathatisnowJacksonville.HesetastonecolumnalongtheRiveroMaynowtheSt.JohnsRivertoclaimthelandandsailednorth.AtwhatisnowParrisIslandSouthCarolinahelefthirtymentobuildaortCharlesortbeorereturningtoFrance.HeplannedtogathermoreHuguenotcolonistsandsuppliesthenreturn.Butthebloodyreligiouswarpreventedanycolonizatione-orts.QueenElizabethperhapsnotwishingtoantagonizeherbrotherKingFelipeIIoSpainwouldntsupportCharlesort.Insteadsheim-prisonedRibaultintheToweroLondon.MeanwhilethesettlersattheCharlesortcolonylackingsuppliesandhard-pressedbypoorrelationswithNativeAmericansabandonedtheCarolinastosailbacktoEurope.Onthewaytheunortunategroupresortedtocannibalism.88 9RibaultssecondLaudonnirewasoeredasecondexpeditionin1564.AlongtheRiveroMayinpresent-dayJacksonvillehebuiltatriangle-shapedortFortCarolinewithassistanceromtherelativelyriendlyTimucuanpeople.9 10TreatsRealandImaginedInsummero1565FortCarolinesoodsupplyhaddwindled.Teirloneshipwasaramshacklethingleakyandbarelysea-worthy.HopeswereraisedbrieybythearrivaloaoursomeoEnglishships.BesidesoodandsuppliesLaudonnirebro-keredatradeorasturdyshipinwhichthesettlersnowattheendotheirropeintendedtoreturntoFrance.OnAu-gust28asthegroupreadiedtoquittheortandbeginthevoy-agehomeashoutwentupsailshadappearedonthehorizonRibaultnewlyreleasedromtheowerwasquicktosteeracourseawayromitsravens.HereturnedtoAmericaattheheadoaeetosevenshipsladenwithweaponsarmorsup-plieslivestock500soldiersandmostimportantly500settlers. 11BythetimeRibaultanchoredthenemesisotheFrenchcolonytheSpaniardPedroMenndezdeAvilsarrivedwithhisowneet.SpanishKingFelipeIIhadchargedMenndeznotonlywithestablishingaSpanishpresenceinFloridabutalsowithdrivingouttheFrenchhereticstheProtestantHuguenotsonceandorall.LikeRibaultMenndezcommandedfveshipsand500sol-dierswithanadditional300menincludingsailors.MenndezwassurehehadGodonhisside.Hecertainlyhadtheweather.FelipeIIreigned1566-1598 Ribaultsthreesmallershipshadbeendischargingtheirtroopsandcargos.NowtheshipswerelightenoughtoskimacrossthesandbaratthemouthotheMay.WhenMenndezseetarrivedtheourlargerFrenchshipswereanchoredoshore.LaPerlePearl80tonsreturnedsaelytoFrance.LaLevrireGreyhound70tonsreturnedsaelytoFrance.LpauledeMoutonLambShoulder60tonswouldbescuttledsunkonpurposeaferthealloFortCarolinealongwithtwootherFrenchvessels.LaTrinit32-gunagshipagaleasshybridshippoweredbybothoarsandsails150-160tons.Wrecked.LEmrillonLittleFalcon29-gunvice-ag-ship150-160tonsarobergecargoshipprob-ablypoweredchieybysails.Wrecked.LaTruiteTroutroberge150-160tons.Wrecked.LEmerillon2roberge120tons.Wrecked.12MeetingotheFleets 13Voicesboomedacrossthewaterasthetwoeetsidentifedthem-selves.Tatwasthelastothesomewhatcivilexchanges. RibaultsLastStandAsthecrewotheSpanishgalleassSanPelayoattemptedtoboardLaTrinittheFrenchvesselscuttheiranchorlinesandmadeaastgetawayduckingSpan-ishcannonballs.TeSpanishshipshobbledbystormdamagetotheirriggingswereorcedtoretreattothenextinlet.Teydidrepairsandestablishedabaseooperationsashore.OnSeptember7Menndezarrivedingreatstateceremo-niouslylandingandtakingpossessionothelandorSpain.TisinletwouldbecomeSt.Augustine.DeterminedtoprotectSanPelayotoomassiveat906tonstoentertheinletromFrenchaggressionMenndezorderedtheheavily-ladenshippartiallyunloadedanddispatchedittoHispaniola.MeanwhileRibaultplottedarejoin-der.IntheaceoLaudonniresoppositionhetriedapreemptivestrikeagainsttheSpaniardsandnearlygotawaywithit.AtdaybreakasthetidewasdroppingRibaultcaughttheSpanishcargoshipsbysurprise.Menndezbarelymadeitacrossthesandbarthatormedwhenthetideebbed.Ribaultsshipsweretoolargetocrossthebar.Insteadhechaseda-terSanPelayowhichhaddepartedjusthoursearlier.Ontheollowingdaytheateulstormstruck.14 TerecameuponustheourFrenchgalleonswhichwehadpursuedtowingtwoorthreepinnaclestopreventourdisembarkingandtoseizeourartilleryandsupplies.AndeventhoughtheweatherwasroughonthebarIwishedtocrossitatriskodrowningitinwiththe150personswhocamewithme...ratherthanseemeintheirpower...AndmiraculouslyourLordwishedtosaveus.AndtheyseeingthatIhadescapedafertheyhadcometospeaktomeaboutsurrenderandtoassuremenottobearaidwenttoseatoseekthegal-leonSanPelayowhichitisunderstoodtheybelievedcouldnotescapethem.MenndezslettertoFelipeIIOctober15156515 16GodourLordperformedamiraclefortheweatherbeingfairandclearsuddenlythesearoseupveryhighandastrongandcontrarywindcameup...GonzaloSoliddeMerasMenndezbiographer TeMiracleStormHistorianssayitwasntatruehurricane.LittlematteraspowerulwindsdroveRibaultseeturthersouthanddespiteranticattemptstoclawtheirwaytodeep-erwatersallwererunagroundandwrecked.TreeotheshipsLaTruiteandbothLEmerillonsweresmashedinthesurnearPonceInlet.TeagshipLaTrinitwasstrandedintactonasandbarfvetotenleaguesurthersouthinthedirectionoCapeCanav-eral.Menndezmountedhisresponse.IgnorantotheateotheFrenchshipsheknewthattheywouldntbeabletosailbacknorthinthestill-ragingstorm.AlongwithmostohismenleavingaewbehindtoguardthenascentSt.AugustinehemarchedoverlandandtookFortCaroline.Around130werekilledoutright45to60morein-cludingLaudonnireescapedand50womenchil-drenandaewmenwerespared.TefveremainingFrenchshipsrepairedtothesaetyotherivermouthandconsideredtheiroptions.PerleandLevrirere-turnedtoFrancewithsurvivorsaboard.Whatothewreckedshipstheircargoandtheirsail-orsIntwoseparategroupsoneromLaTrinitandtheotherromthethreesmallershipstheytrudgedalongthehostileshoreandbeganthelongmarchnorthwardtotheirortnotknowingwhatreugeitcouldaordthem.Terewasnone.17 AtMatanzasInletMenndezmetthefrstgroupSeptember29.LearningothesackoFortCaro-linetheybeggedmercybutreceivedlittle.Upto200werecutdowninwhatwouldlaterbecalledMatanzasMassacreInlet.OnOctober11thesecondgroupincludingRibaultarrived.Tosewhodidntdashintothewildernessmetasimilarate.FinallyonNovember1MenndezinvadedaFrenchortifca-tionbuiltwithsixcannonromthewreckedLaTrinittakingmoreprisoners.TelastotheFrenchsurvivorswhoreusedsurrenderdisappearedromthegazeohistorythoughtracesotheiractivitieshaveshownupintermittentlyinthearchaeologicalrecordcluestothepresenceougitivesinalligatorhabitat.18 LetterfromMenndeztoFelipeIIOctober15156519...AndIhadtheirhandstiedbehindthemandputthemtotheknife. AWell-KeptSecretDuringthewintero1970-1971agroupoCentralFloridarelichuntersdiscoveredanarchaeologicalsiteontheinlandshoreoabarrierislandinwhatisnowCanaveralNationalSeashore.Usingmetaldetectorsthegroupexploredthissiteandtwoothers.TeydugupavarietyoobjectsoEuropeanorigininclud-inglargenumbersoironshipsspikesandjewelryalteredbyorgeswithmethodsthatonlyEuropeansusedatthistimealongwith16thcenturySpanishandFrenchcoins.TegroupsrecordkeeperDouglasArmstrongreal-izedthesignifcanceotheartiacts.HespeculatedthattheymightbeassociatedwithRibaultseet.Almost20yearsaerthesiteswerediscoveredheinormedtheNationalParkServiceunderwhoseju-risdictiontheynowellaboutthefnds.In1990and1995thesitesweresystematicallyexcavatedbytheNationalParkServicesSoutheasternArchaeologicalCenterSEACwhichconfrmedArmstrongsinter-pretationothesitesorigin.TemostcompellingevidencethatthesesiteswereoccupiedbyFrenchmenasopposedtothelocalSurruqueorotherNativeAmericanswhomayhavesalvagedshipwreckedmaterialcameromtheshipsastenerswhichhadbeenmodifedusingknowledgeandtechnologyavail-ableonlytoEuropeancrasmen.In1994SEACarchaeologistDavidBrewerledamag-netometersurveyonthebeachidentiying345morepossibleclues.Asaresultinvestigatorsbelievedtherewereasmanyassixteenpotentialshipwrecksitesincludingonequiteclosetoasurvivalcamp.Andnow...20 21 22TreeotheourshipswreckedsomewhereinthevicinityoPonceInleteachstrandedandbrokenupbytheheavySur.LaTrinitwastheexception.Shewaslostfvetotenleaguestothesouthotheotherwrecks.WealsoknowthatLaTrinitgroundedin-tacttrappedbehindasandbarinsteadowithinthesurzoneandeventuallysankthereoshorethemakeshiorthastilyconstructedbythefnalgroupoFrenchsurvivors.DouglasArmstrongavocationalarchaeologist 23MessageromWreckageTemostimportantcluetothelocationoLaTrinitisthecom-plexoshipwrecksurvivorcamps.Notsurprisinglythereisoenacorrelationbetweenthelocationoshipwrecksurvivorcampsandtheshipwrecksites.Imaginesurvivingashipwreckpoundingthroughstormwavesontothebeachorwakingthereaeraaintcausedbyaheadwound.Alongwithothersurvivorsyoumightmakeaquickshelterthenandthereonlytomoveyourcamptoabetterlocationasconditionsimprove.Butyouwouldntgoarnotonlyistheshipwreckasourceofot-samandjetsamthatmightbehelpultoyoursurvivalitsalsoareminderohomeinathreateningsetting. InJulyandAugust2014LAMPgoestosea.InpartnershipwithNOAAprin-cipalinvestigorChuckMeideandco-investigatorJohndeBrywillbring21stcenturytechnologytocreateadetailedmapotheseaooroSt.Augustineandtotargetplacesthatinviteacloserlookbecausetheycouldcontainship-wrecks.Asidescansonarandsub-bottomproflerwillusesoundwavestocreateimagesotheseaoorandwhatliesbeneathwhileamagnetometerwillpinpointconcentrationsoerrousmaterialironorsteelthroughthesurveyarea.Careulanalysisothedatageneratedbytheseinstrumentswillallowscientiststoidentiypotentialshipwrecksites.Tenwesendintheeyesintheormoscubadiverstogetaclose-uplookpossiblyturningacould-it-betoayes-it-isoroneormoreothelostships.TePlanTesurveyarealiesdirectlyoshorethelocationothearchaeologicalex-cavationotheshipwreckcampsites.Teexactlocationisundisclosedkeptsecrettoprotecttheintegrityothewreck.TeproposedareaallswithintheCanaveralNationalSeashoreunderNationalParkServicejurisdiction.Teprojecthasthreemaintimeblocks.SurveyCruise1sevendaysProcessingandanalysis17daysDivertargettestingCruises2and3twoconsecutivesix-daycruises24 ManiestLarinitCannoncannonballsandcannontools1smallbronzeculverine1bronzealcon1bronzealconet20ironbercheslargealcons1English-typealconet200cannonballsorculverins201cannonballsorbastards183cannonballscannonperrier300cannonballsoralcons93cannonballsoralconets3borewormsorthelargeculverin2borewormsorthebastards2borewormsorthecannonperrier7rammers13ironpincers1jackorservingtheartillery14ringmatches72ringsticks60ventpicks7middle-sizedbronzeartillerypieces1trunk4leadshotmolds1shotmold800poundsoleadtoservethearcquebuses1800piecesolead36powderfashsorthearquebuses6moneybarrels3grindstones3153poundsostockironinplatesandpieces1sheetoiron1largeanvil1two-beakedanvil1coverortheorge25 1.SurveyTerstblockoversevendaysinvolvesaremotesensingsurveyromaboardtheRopertheprimaryresearchvesselortheInstituteoMaritimeHistory.TeRoperisa36-oot11msteel-hulledex-trawlerthathasbeenconvertedintoadivingandarchaeologicalsurveyvessel.RopermaybeassistedbyEmpireDefend-erashallow-draingberglassboat31eet9.45mlong.Roperwillbetheplatormordeployingtowshin-watersensorsorthesidescansonarandmagnetometer.Adier-entialglobalpositioningsystemontheboatprovidesaccuratepositions.Inves-tigatorsaboardRoperwillalsodeployasub-bottomprolerwhichscansbelowtheseabed.Tesetechnologiesinteracedwithcom-putersallowortheefcientacquisitionomagneticandacousticdataoverawideareathatcanbeanalyzedrelativelyquicklyaerthisrsteldworkphase.26 MagnetometerTisdevicetowedromtheboatssternmeasurestheintensityoEarthsmag-neticeld.Temagnetometerlooksoranomalieslocaldisturbancescausedbyoneormoreobjectswithmagneticqualitiesusuallyironorsteel.LaTrinitisknowntocontainatleastseveraltonsoiron.SideScanSonarTeboat-towedsidescansonarunitemitssoundwavesthatreectothesea-oor.Teresultingdatapointsaresynthesizedintoascrollingplanviewotheseaoorthatissuperimposedonnauticalchartstoshowresearchersbottomconditions.Sidescansonarcanexposeinterestingobjectsandprovideavisualreerencewhenresearchersdiveoracloserlook.Sub-bottomprolerTiscanseebeneaththeseaoorbyprojectinganarrowacousticbeamosoundandanalyzingitsecho.GatheringdataRoperwillmowthelawndriv-inglanesparalleltoshorespaced20metersapart.Teinitialsurveyblockwillconsisto38lanesoratotalo190linemiles352linekm.Ashipwreckprotrudingabovetheseaoorcanbeseenwiththesidescansonariitsburiedtheonlywaytonditiswiththemagorsub-bottomproler.27 2.ProcessingandAnalysisTedatagatheredduringthefeldworkportionwillbeprocessedandanalyzedatLAMPsSt.Augustineheadquarters.Tiswillresultinanumberopossibletargetsorurtherinvestigation.3.DiverargetestingOvertwosix-daycruisesscubadiverswillinvestigateunderwatertargets.Firsttheylldierentiatebetweenancientandmoderndebris.NearKennedySpaceCenterthereisundoubtedlysignifcantmaterialrelatedtothespaceprogramintheseabed.Inooldermaterialisvisibleinthesonarimagerydiversmayneedtoprobebeneaththesedimenttoconfrmthepresenceowreckage.Idiversdiscoversignifcantremainsromaburiedwrecktheywillconductsomelimitedexcava-tionwiththeprobeorahandhelddredgeinanattempttobetterunderstandthenatureextendnationalityanddateotheshipwreck.Artiactsmaybebroughtuporphotographydrawingandx-rayimaging.Aerdocumentationtheywillbereturnedtotheiroriginallocationontheshipwrecksiteandreburied.IanyothesesitesturnouttobeoneotheFrenchshipsutureplansmightinvolvemoreextensiveexcavationandartiactrecovery.28 29 WhatWillItMeantoFindtheWrecks3030ChuckMeideM.A.principalinvestigatorDirectorofLAMPJohndeBryPh.D.co-principalinvestigatorDirectoroftheCenterforHistoricalArchaeologyThestoryoftheFrencheetisinexorablytiedtothefoundingofSt.Augustineandthusthefoundingofournationandthearchaeo-logicalpotentialoftheseshipwreckscannotbeoverestimated.Iffoundandinvestigatedtheseshipswouldarguablyrepresentthemostimportantshipwrecksiteseverdiscov-eredinU.S.waters.Theypromisetodynami-callybroadenourunderstandingofearlyEu-ropeancolonizationandtheoriginsofourcountryasamaritimenation. ProjectPersonnelSamTurnerPh.D.DirectorofArchaeologyLAMPBrendanBurkeM.A.ArcheologistandLogisticalCoordinatorLAMPU.S.CoastGuardcaptainStarrCoxM.A.ArchaeologicalConservatorLAMPDavidHoweJ.D.retiredU.S.NavyCommandercaptainoftheresearchvesselRopersecretaryInstituteofMarineHistoryOliviaMcDanielArchaeologistLAMPBrianMcNamaraVolunteerarchaeologistFlindersUniversityAustralia31 BooktextbyChuckMeideJohndeBryandKarenRomanoYoungBookdesignandfipbookexecutionbyKarenRomanoYoungCreditspages4-5PaintingbyHenryGarrettSmithromNationalGeographicFebruary1966Vol.129No.2pp.206-7.pages14-15PaintingbyHenryGarrettSmithromNationalGeographicFebruary1966Vol.129No.2pp.206-7.pages16-17PaintingoLaTrinitbyandcourtesyoWilliamTrotterromapresentationbyChuckMeide.pages18PaintingbyBirneyLettickromNationalGeographicFebruary1966Vol.129No.2pp.212-3.page19PaintingbyStanleyMeltzofromNationalGeographicFebruary1966Vol.129No.2pp.216-7.