The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is a 501 (c) (3) accredited, not-for-profit organization existing to research, interpret, and exhibit the maritime history of Florida and the Caribbean in ways that increase knowledge, enrich the spirit, and stimulate inquiry.

Key West African Cemetery Video Gallery

Key West African Cemetery Ground-Penetrating Radar Survey – Higgs Beach, 2002


In June of 2002, staff and volunteers from the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum partnered with archaeologists from the University of Denver to conduct ground-penetrating radar surveys at Higgs Beach, Key West, to locate graves from the 1860 African Cemetery. This video is a compilation of footage from that effort.

The African Cemetery is where refugees rescued from the slave ships Wildfire, William, and Bogota were buried. Historical evidence was clear that the long-lost cemetery was somewhere on Higgs Beach, but it wasn’t until this archaeological survey was conducted that the exact location was revealed.  Today, a memorial to those buried below the sand stands at the site.

Atocha Coins.jpg

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200 Greene Street  |  Key West, FL 33040

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Did you know that the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is the only fully accredited museum in the Florida Keys? That means we’re more than just an exciting adventure story. We’re also a nationally recognized research and archaeology institution.
Mel Fisher Maritime Museum - Galleon "Atocha"