SEAC: Featured Project
  • 3D Rendering of Shiloh Mound

    Southeast Archeological Center

    Cultural Resources National Park Service

SEAC Featured Project: Monitoring at Dry Tortugas National Park

Located 70 miles west of Key West and accessible only by boat or seaplane, Dry Tortugas National Park is the Southeast’s most remote National Park unit. Garden Key, one of seven islands that make up the Park, boasts the largest masonry structure in the Western Hemisphere. Fort Jefferson is a six-bastioned elongated hexagon made of brick, coral and cement concrete, and stone. Construction began in 1846 as part of the coastal defense initiative known as the Third System and continued until 1875, nearly 10 years beyond the realization of the obsolescence of masonry forts with the advent of rifled artillery.

SEAC Archeological Technician, Tim Roberts, monitored trenching excavations by Miami-based Coreland Construction Corporation for drainage and sewer pipes, and buried utility lines to be installed for a new housing unit in the Fort Jefferson parade ground. The housing unit itself tastefully approximates a 1870s lumber shed seen in historic photos.

During the course of excavations for the new housing unit’s main drainage trench, two features were identified that are believed to be related to the production of coral concrete used to bond the 16 million bricks that make up the fort’s infrastructure.

Roberts also assisted Everglades National Park Botanist Hillary Cooley with planting 9 new buttons to replace the non-native seaside mahoes being removed by Everglades National Park Fire Crews. The results of a previous SEAC ground penetrating radar survey helped the pair avoid disturbing potentially significant archeological deposits when planting the trees. Holes for the trees were excavated as shovel tests and the soil was screened through ΒΌ” hardware cloth.

Roberts also worked with a Maine-based Tuckerbrook Conservation, Llc crew on raising and restoring a Rodman gun on Bastion 5. The cannon will eventually be mounted on the concrete platform installed by the 482nd Volunteer Engineers. During the course of this work, a 1890s Spanish Mauser cartridge case was recovered and a set of hardware from the original cannon mount.