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2009 shipwreck survey

field trip to the buen consejo 25 july 2009


Nine students, their parents, Don Mitchell, and I met at Art Café in Island Harbour at 7AM.  I introduced the students to the site of the Buen Consejo by showing them an iron spike and some concretion that came from the area.  I also showed them the cannon ball which had been taken from Scrub Island and explained the importance of not removing artefacts.  The scale, camera (and housing), slates, and GPS were shown to the kids and their parents.

Don Mitchell did a brief introduction to the island’s history (in 1772) and together we explained how the Spaniards wrecked their boats on the island.


Photograph by Don Mitchell

At about 7:30 we left Art Café and carpooled to the road near Junks’ Hole (five vehicles).  From a vantage point, I explained where the vessel struck the coast and enlisted several children to help record data (using the GPS and slate).  Nine children and their parents spread out along the coast and we soon began to find evidence of the wreck.  Square nails, iron pins, and various concretions (which may have been parts of cases packed with pins but now impressions, were discovered among the rocks. 

Photograph by Lilli Azevedo-Grout

I asked the children to imagine what the twisted, broken bits might have been from and together we imagined the boxes of trade goods that would have been part of the missionaries’ cargo.  We continued to work our way along the coast.  I explained some of the temporary datum points that the team had used to mark the underwater part of the site.  At 9:15 we began to leave the site and reconvened at Art Cafe.  There, the participants were invited to fill in archaeological record sheets to document their discoveries and I showed them several images of the site from underwater (as well as some of the other sites documented during the survey).

We finished about 10:30.

Photograph by Lilli Azevedo-Grout

The kids can describe their experience better than I could.  The following report is by Megan Coburn , aged 14

“We arrived at the art cafe at 7.  We were then introduced to the site on paper and were shown various tools such as GPS and underwater camera cases that can be used.  The case allowed for about 100m (approximately 300ft).  It was very exciting when we began identifying bolts, stakes, nails, and even what we though looked like a pair of scissors.  As we progressed down the scraggly rocks the tide began to spray and we were encouraged not to go too close lest we get wet.  I found it very interesting and would do it again in a heartbeat not to mention we had great company.  Lily of course.”

Prepared by:

Lillian Azevedo-Grout

PhD Candidate, University of Southampton


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