On April 29, 1554, three Spanish ships were wrecked off the coast of what is now Padre Island National Seashore. In the subsequent recovery operation, a smaller fourth boat also sank. Texas and the National Park Service care for artifacts excavated and washed ashore from these sites, which are the oldest Spanish shipwrecks along the U.S. mainland coast.
To make appropriate management decisions, park leadership needs to gain a better understanding of these wrecks and potential measures to mitigate known threats. PAIS also needs to develop interpretive and educational products and programs to increase visitor understanding of these unique resources. The goal of this project is to contribute to a collaborative, inter-governmental effort to research the shipwrecks and share the knowledge gained.
PAIS proposes to select a DHA-RA intern to document, research, and educate the public about the shipwrecks, including:
- A detailed, annotated bibliography to aid researchers studying the wrecks.
- Digitization of NPS archival records and creation of a finding aid for materials related to the wrecks to increase NPS information accessibility for researchers and the public.
- Translations of at least five key wreck-related documents from Spanish to English.
- Updates and additions to the park’s web page(s) to incorporate recent research findings.
- Virtual, recorded program(s) in English and Spanish to educate park visitors about submerged cultural resources at PAIS, including why they are significant, what findings they have led to, and what threats they face (e.g., hurricanes).
The intern will also assist with archeological field work to document the submerged and terrestrial sites associated with the shipwrecks; with re-inventory, appropriate packaging, and labeling of associated artifacts; and with development of a traveling exhibit and interpretive and educational materials to share the wealth of knowledge gained from the wrecks about 16th century commerce between the Old and New Worlds.