Patti Marine Enterprises donates dive platform to UWF archaeology program
Today, the University of West Florida received a new dive platform from Frank Patti, Jr. of Patti Marine Enterprises. The Division of Anthropology and Archaeology, within the College of Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities will use the new platform for staging archaeological and other scientific research. “I am honored and pleased to provide UWF with two viable hulls that will work in unison as a platform for expeditions and all the history that has yet to be found in Pensacola waters,” Patti said. Two rebuilt barges will replace the current 20-year-old platforms, which were rebuilt in 2002 with the assistance of the Patti family. Students, faculty and staff utilize the dive platform for investigating shipwrecks in Pensacola Bay, including the three shipwrecks from the Spanish fleet linked to Tristán de Luna y Arellano’s 16th century expedition to modern-day Pensacola. The platform allows for several teams of divers in the water, while others take notes, screen materials or maintain equipment above. The new platform is expected to hold more people and will feature canopies to provide shade and seating, as well as storage facilities for personal equipment. Dr. Elizabeth Benchley, director of the Division of Anthropology and Archaeology, said UWF will benefit from the Patti family’s gift in many ways. “The platform can be used all day long, which allows students to participate in large-scale excavations,” Benchley said. “Without a dive platform like this, we can only conduct archaeology from smaller boats with far less space. A gift such as this is really essential when we are excavating a shipwreck over a long period of time. We are extremely appreciative of the Patti family and their support of our program.” For more information about the Division of Anthropology and Archaeology, visit uwf.edu/anthropology.