Tristan de Luna

Recently I came across a fascinating article on the discovery in France of spectacular ruins. Developers working on a new subdivision uncovered an ancient Roman suburb that was remarkably preserved.

According to The New York Times article, the ruins included shops for metalworking, grocery stores, a warehouse full of wine jugs, a couple of houses with expensive floor mosaics and more.

John Worth / UWF Archaeology Institute

University of West Florida archaeologists spent the summer uncovering more details about Tristan de Luna’s 1559 Settlement in Pensacola. Much of the story of the ill-fated Spanish colony is being told through the artifacts that have been discovered.

John Worth / UWF Archaeology Institute

University of West Florida archaeology students and researchers have spent the summer uncovering more details about the 1559 Luna Settlement.

The Tristan de Luna Settlement overlooking Pensacola Bay existed for just two years until 1561.

Four hundred and fifty eight years after being sunk by a hurricane in Pensacola Bay, archeologists are working to make sure some undiscovered ships in Tristan de Luna’s fleet won’t face a new, twenty first century threat.

Three of de Luna’s vessels, of the six scuttled by the hurricane in 1559, have been discovered and are under investigation, including one discovered in 2016. There is speculation that the other three could be in the general area of the new Bay Bridge construction site.

UWF Archaeology

There is a rich history surrounding the voyage of Tristan de Luna to what’s now Pensacola. And it’s getting richer with a new discovery by the University of West Florida’s Archaeology program.

Outgoing UWF President Judy Bense making the announcement, at the T.T. Wentworth museum in downtown Pensacola.

“I am absolutely thrilled to tell you that we have discovered a third Luna shipwreck in Pensacola Bay,” said Bense to a round of applause.

University of West Florida

It was nearly a year ago that the location of Tristan de Luna’s 1559 Settlement was discovered. Since then, University of West Florida archaeologists have ramped up their research of the Spanish colony that was doomed by a hurricane that struck on this day, September 19, 457 years ago.

During the past year, there’s been a lot of activity at the site, including the 2016 UWF Archaeology Summer Field School.  

University of West Florida

The University of West Florida is wrapping up its 2016 Summer Archaeology Field School.

In addition to their work exploring the Luna shipwrecks at Emanuel Point, UWF staff and students have spent the past 10 weeks looking for more clues about the recently discovered 1559 Luna Settlement site. Earlier this month, WUWF checked in to see how the project was progressing.

University of West Florida

It’s been about six months since University of West Florida archaeologists revealed the discovery of Tristan de Luna’s 1559 settlement on Pensacola Bay.

Earlier this week, property owners in the settlement area were updated on their findings and briefed on the next phase of their research.

Work at the site of the Luna settlement, also known as Santa Maria de Ochuse, is continuing as part of a 10-week terrestrial field school that began May 23 and will continue through July 29.

Michael Spooneybarger/ CREO

Two shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay off Emanuel Point, from Tristan de Luna’s 1559 fleet, now have state recognition through an historical marker dedicated Friday morning.

The Emanuel Point Shipwrecks Marker includes descriptive text in both English and Spanish.

Considered a major archeological find, the two ships that sank during a hurricane, about five weeks after landing on what’s now Santa Rosa Island, have yielded a treasure trove of information about 16th century colonial expeditions, life aboard ships and naval architecture.

University of West Florida

In 1992, archeologists found the first remains of the shipwrecks of Don Tristan de Luna’s fleet on the bottom of Pensacola Bay. De Luna, of course, was the man who first settled what would become Pensacola. But the exact location of the settlement was always a mystery. Was is the operative word.

The University of West Florida Archeology Institute has received a grant to explore the remains of a Spanish fleet in Pensacola Bay. The $290,000 grant is support from the Florida Division of Historical Resources. Dr. Gregory Cook is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UWF who teaches shipwreck and nautical archeology. He says the Special Category Grant from the state will help expand the university's study of the ships under Pensacola Bay.