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The Galleon Atocha
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.

Archaeology & Research​/ Overview


Archaeology at the Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

Archaeology is the study of the human past as it is found through sites, artifacts, and other material remains. Maritime archaeology is focused on those things that reflect man’s relationship with the sea. The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum (MFMM) has an active archaeological research program that is committed to studying the maritime past as it is found throughout the greater Florida and  Caribbean region. Our work is done with the purpose of exploring and sharing archaeological finds not just for their antiquity, but to bring a greater understanding of what this heritage means for our modern world.

Much of our research is focused on shipwrecks from the colonial era, but it is not limited by either subject or time – if something can help shed light on the maritime past, fits our mission, and is within the scope of our capabilities, it might just be a candidate for study! The MFMM archaeological team has the ability to conduct full-scale investigations; from historical research, excavation, artifact conservation, and analysis, to the sharing of results through publications, media, and, of course, our museum exhibits.

The Mel Fisher Maritime Museum is home to a large collection of materials recovered from the Spanish galleons Nuestra Señora de Atocha and Santa Margarita of 1622, and though our organization is not involved in current field efforts at the sites, the story of these ships will always be a large part of our research. MFMM archaeologists are also studying many other subjects, including the 1700 London-based slave ship Henrietta Marie; the early Spanish galleon Santa Clara, sunk in 1564; the Havana-based pirate-slaver Guerrero of 1827; the 1860 African Cemetery at Higgs Beach; the 1860 slave ship Peter Mowell; the Key West Turtle Kraals; and the 1920’s schooner Marie J. Thompson, among other subjects of local, national, and global importance.   

If you have questions or comments concerning our archaeological research program, please contact:

Corey Malcom, PhD

Director of Archaeology

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum

200 Greene St.

Key West, FL  33040

(305) 294-2633 x22

Mel Fisher Maritime Museum - Galleon "Atocha"
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