Florida Keys Maritime Archaeological Field School

In The Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary
Photographs From The 2005 Field School On The Button Wreck

19th July to 9th August 2005

Artefact Handling

During the field school, training, instruction was given on artefact recording and documentation. Usually on ADMAT field schools, artefacts are recovered and recorded in accordance with modern archaeological practices. However on this project as no artefacts (apart from the small number of coins which were being immediately conserved under special permission) were being recovered in accordance with the Permit, other plans had to be made.

NOAA had confiscated a number of artefacts which has been looted from historic sites in the Florida Keys. ADMAT volunteered to record and document these artefacts as examples for the training. Kathy Schubert and Christine Nielsen were conducting the training.


One of ADMAT’s main aims is education. After the project, ADMAT conducted a number of local lectures at schools, organised by Dr. Duncan Mathewson III. These lectures were well received, and plans were created as a direct result, for the local classes to take part in the survey. Mr. David Makepeace one of the teachers at Coral Shoals High School, runs an excellent biological laboratory and teaches marine sciences. Dr. Duncan Mathewson III suggested that his classes should join the project and assist with a biological assessment of The Button Wreck, which he and ADMAT agreed with. Dr. Spooner drew a special version of the site plan for Mr. Makepeace to print onto underwater slates. ADMAT is delighted to be able to support continuing education programs like this and looks forward to working with Dr. Duncan Mathewson III and his school network.

The special version of   The Button Wreck   site plan to be used for divers underwater slates, drawn by Dr. Spooner for Mr. Makepease

The special version of The Button Wreck site plan to be used for divers underwater slates, drawn by Dr. Spooner for Mr. Makepease

Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage Lectures

ADMAT has conducted a number of lectures on The Button Wreck since the field school. One of the lectures was arranged by Brenda Altmeier from NOAA, promoting the reservation of Underwater Cultural Heritage, and ADMAT’s work on the documentation of The Button Wreck. This lecture was to the Historic Preservation Society in the Upper Keys, and was well received. A number of questions and issues were raised at the lecture and ADMAT looks forward to an opportunity in returning to the Society and giving an update on the findings in this Interim Report.

In November 2005, NOAA sponsored its first-ever Maritime Heritage Education Conference at the Nauticus National Maritime Center in Norfolk, Virginia. This three day conference consisted of lectures and seminars promoting maritime heritage and was attended by  educators, marine specialists and archaeologists from all over the country. The subject topics ranged from maritime history, technology and current events, to public education and outreach programs, diving and cultural resources. Originally Dr Spooner, was asked to present a paper on ADMAT & ADMAT USA work on The Button Wreck. Unfortunately, Dr. Spooner was unable to go to the conference due to his work in the Dominican Republic for their Government.

Kathy Schubert therefore was the best choice to represent ADMAT & ADMAT USA as a guest speaker at the conference and presented a lecture on the ADMAT 2005 Florida Field School as well as the results of the investigation into The Button Wreck to date. The lecture as well as the conference was very well received, with highlights being the presentation given by the keynote speaker, Dr. Robert Ballard, and the dinner cruise around Norfolk.

Shortly after the MHEC conference, Kathy was a guest speaker at the Rancocas Valley Regional High School in New Jersey, speaking to the honours history classes about the conservation of Underwater Cultural Heritage. The students were extremely interested in the connection between the cultural remains and U.S. history.

In January 2006, ADMAT presented a paper on The Button Wreck at the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) conference which was held in California. ADMAT will continue its archaeological lectures, and The Button Wreck will be added as a topic to “ADMAT’s Excavating Shipwreck Lectures” which are held around the world.