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Archaeological Concerns Over Florida State Rule 1A-31

(EMAILWIRE.COM, October 20, 2008 ) Miami, FL - From Kip Wagner in the 1950-60's to Mel Fisher with the fabulous finds from the Atocha in the 1980's, Odyssey Marine Explorations and their Deep-water finds- private sector interests in Florida have played a longstanding, but ever evolving role.

In the recovery of shipwrecks, the artifacts they carried are truly historic treasures. Over the last five decades, the private sector efforts in the recovery of these treasures, has resulted in the State of Florida receiving at least a 20% share of all finds (nearly 30,000 individual items). This annual donation has culminated in the State holding what is acknowledged as the finest collection of Spanish Colonial artifacts in the world.

At least two scholarly books have been written on the coin collections alone. Many additional scholarly books have been published chronicling the Atocha and 1715 Fleet shipwrecks, about historic salvage work done .  Five museums including the Florida State museum in Tallahassee, have permanent collections and showcase these finds. Many other museums, in other States either house permanent displays or have had exhibitions, including the National Geographic Society Museum at Washington D.C.
The Florida State agency after years of benefiting from these efforts, the tourism created by it, now is playing fast and loose with these small businesses. They are out to change the rules under which exploration and recoveries can be made.

Many of those who are most involved in this business, will be on hand to present evidence and offer a counter rule, that would allow for the ongoing involvement of the private sector (the rescue of these threatened resources).

In that spirit we extend our invitation to all entities and individuals concerned with these resources and still believe in the dreams that have made the finding of these treasures, one of the unique aspects of life here in Florida. A hearing is scheduled for October 21, 2008 at noon in the Guana Auditorium, 505 Guana River Road, Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

James Sinclair, MA
Sear ex Inc.
15 Marlin Dr.
St Augustine, FL  32080
904-819-0408(Home and office)

-Randall Mast

Source: EmailWire.com

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