Our Past in Peril: Florida’s Trouble with Treasure

As the scene of several colonial Spanish fleet disasters from the 16th to the 18th centuries, Florida is at the center of the commercial historic shipwreck salvage industry. Despite public opinion and laws protecting submerged cultural heritage, treasure hunters still are engaged in the destruction of underwater historic sites for personal gain. This lecture describes Florida’s history of treasure hunting, laws regarding commercial salvage of historic shipwrecks, and the strategies employed by archaeologists and resource managers to protect historic shipwrecks for the present and future and to promote responsible visitation.

Presented by:
The Staff of the Northwest Region
Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN)
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