Search to Recover: Simulating the Site Formation Process of the 1733 Fleet

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Sean Cox (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
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Abstract: Archaeological surveys and interpretive efforts rely upon personal observations and second-hand sources€” historical documentation , oral histories , and eye-witness accounts€”for information about shipwreck events. These sources frequently lack quantifiable certainty. The proposed methodology uses recent wind and ocean current data from the Florida Keys as inputs to simulate shipwreck debris from the site of La Capitana el Rubi , flagship of the 1733 Spanish Treasure Fleet. The results of the simulation demonstrate that the shipwrecked vessel's scatter pattern is consistent with the location's mean ambient environmental conditions and is likely consistent with conditions on site during the summer and fall of 1733 , when Spanish shipwreck salvors worked to recover material from the sunken fleet. The simulation results demonstrate shipwreck materials likely drifted further from the site than archaeological investigations have previously documented and rule out the 1733 hurricane as the primary cause of the present scatter pattern.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2019
Maritime Archaeology, Spanish Treasure Fleet, Operations Research, Ocean Simulation, Python, Survey Planning, Optimization

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