Digital Library

Emanuel Point 2 Shipwreck (1559)

Charles Bendig, 2017


Country: United States

Place: Florida, Pensacola Bay.

Coordinates: Lat. 30°24’52.21″N; Long. 87°11’5.77″W

Type: Unknown

Identified: No

Dated: Probably 1559 (historical event)

History of the shipwreck

Considered the second shipwreck connected with the Tristán de Luna y Arellano’s colonizing expedition to Florida in 1559. The Emanuel Point II shipwreck was found during survey work by the University of West Florida maritime field school in 2006. Fieldwork on the wreck began the following year and has continued each summer to date. Funding from the Florida Division of Historical Resources Special Categories Grant allowed year-around excavation of the wreck site for two consecutive years (2014-2016).


The recovery of ceramic coarse earthenware, olive jar sherds, evidence from majolica production classified as Columbia plain or Isabela polychrome, yayal blue on white, and green lead-glazed coarse earthenware date the site to the mid-16th century. Similar artifacts were found on the Emanuel Point I shipwreck providing the same date range on both vessels.

Description of the site

Approximately 400 yards west of the Emanuel Point I shipwreck, EP II is 0.75 km from the coast and sits in 4 m of water. Extensive remains of the lower hull exist beneath a 14 m x 6 m ballast mound with further remains in poorer preservation forward and aft of the ballast area.


Most of the cargo was salvaged with any large perishables absent in the archaeological record. Surviving artifacts appear to be broken vessels not worth saving or broken ceramics, wooden artifacts, concretions, and smaller materials that mixed with the ballast either during the life of the ship or due to the wrecking event.


A sample of ballast rock and coral was collected in a 1 x 1 m unit near amidships. The results indicated that most of the ballast came from Lanzarote in the Canary Islands and a single rock was found to be from the coast of Brazil. Massive starlet, lobed star, brain, and ivory corals were found amongst the ballast rock and are all grown in the Caribbean.


No anchors have been found.


No guns have been found.

Iron concretions

Numerous concretions have been recovered from the site. Most concretions are from iron fasteners, bolts, and small artifacts.

Hull remains

The hull remains are oriented in a northwest to southeast direction, along a submerged sandbar. Remains beneath the ballast mound indicate 20 m x 5 m of preserved hull structure. Further excavations forward of the ballast mound included the portside remains of the bow. Recent excavations for the rudder aft of the sternpost has revealed further hull structure laying perpendicular in orientation from the rest of the wreck. Early excavations took place to find the limits of the site, reveal the portside bow structure, sternpost, and a trench mid-way between the bow and amidships.


The forward end of the keel is 20 cm sided by 27 cm molded, with 5 cm rabbets on either side. There is a 40 cm extension from the end of the keel, forming a flat vertical scarf with an absent stem. The bottom of the keel is rounded either from wear or the grounding impact during the wrecking event. Samples taken from the keel indicate it is made of oak.

Stem post

No stem has been found to date.


Excavations in 2009 revealed only the top of the sternpost assembly. Preliminary evidence from revisiting the sternpost in the last quarter of 2015 has found approximately 2 m of preservation. There is a stern knee and a heel timber between the sternpost and keel scarfs. The heel also includes a skeg to protect the rudder. At least two through bolts are concreted to the lower half of the stern post with a gudgeon still attached to the hull between the fasteners. Lead sheathing still attached to the lower hull covers most of the planking, but there is an obvious pattern between thin to wide planking.


Although most of the floor timbers remain intact on the shipwreck, there has not been any dismantling of upper structure to reach these components. Only a handful of fragmented futtocks were recorded with the eroded bow structure. Forward of amidships first futtocks were excavated on either side of the hull varying from 18 to 22 cm sided by 16-18 cm molded. The spacing between futtocks is filled by filler pieces 5 cm thick, varying between 20 and 22 cm sided, and approximately 35 cm in length. Each filler piece is beveled on either end with occasional small iron nails fastening them in place.


The trench excavated forward of amidships included a section of the keelson 20 cm sided by 15 cm molded along the central longitudinal axis.


The mainmast step includes an expanded keelson with 4 pairs of buttresses. There are two pump sumps aft of the mast step complex for bilge pumps that were salvaged.


Bottom stringers are not proud of the planking, but are wider than the accompanying ceiling.

Clamps and Deck Beams

No clamps or deck beams have been found.


A single deck stanchion 9.5 cm by 14.5 cm and 37.5 cm tall was found connected to the keelson. The stanchion has a 7 cm square tenon and corresponding mortise. There were no concretions or other fasteners present to hold the stanchion in place.


Outer hull planking is 5.5 cm thick and ranges between 20 cm and 25 cm sided, but is usually 23 cm on average. Ceiling varies around 19 cm sided and 5 cm thick.


Caulking includes a combination of pine resin, plant materials, canvas fabric, and lead sheathing.


Size and scantlings

Based on the extant and rather limited evidence, the estimated keel length is 21.5 m (37.41 codo), the length overall 31.27 m, the beam 9.78 m, depth of hold 4.89 m, and the probable cargo capacity 492.06 toneles.


Table 1. List of the timbers preserved. Scantlings

Timber Sided




Keel 27 30 Only the forward keel scarf has been recorded
Keelson 15 20 Midway between bow and amidships.
Futtocks 18-22 16-18
Hull Planking 23 5.5
Room & Space 40-45 Midway between bow and amidships.


Wood Analysis

Wood samples have been taken from the ceiling, futtocks, keelson, and filler pieces. All of the wood is white oak.


Beam: Estimated 10.24 m

Keel Length: Estimated 22.52 m

Length Overall: Estimated 32.76 m

Number of Masts: Probably 3

Cook, G., 2009, “Luna’s Ships: Current Excavation on Emanuel Point II and Preliminary Comparisons with the First Emanuel Point Shipwreck,” The Florida Anthropologist 62(3-4):93–99.

Gifford, M., 2008,  Everything Is Ballast: An Examination of Ballast Related Practices and Ballast Stones from the Emanuel Point Shipwrecks. Master’s Thesis, University of West Florida, Pensacola.

Sorset, S., 2013, A Comparison of Ceramics from the Padre Island and Emanuel Point Shipwrecks. Master’s Thesis, University of West Florida, Pensacola.