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- 2014 - July - 29th -

Lake Ray believes he has found historic Fort Caroline site

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

For years, the exact location of historic Fort Caroline has been elusive to searchers.

There have been claims it’s not in Northeast Florida, instead being further west or in Southeast Georgia.

State Rep. Lake Ray believes he has a definitive answer to end such speculation.

Ray announced his findings this morning at a news conference. He believes they confirm the landmark’s Northeast Florida location along the St. Johns River. It’s in a location more east of where common thought places the fort, he said, in an area of federal land.

Ray, along with his son, Lake Ray IV, and legislative assistant, Mark Lloyd, for a couple of weeks have been looking into the location. Using historical books and Google Maps, they believed they might have found a location that matched the dimensions and geographic area.

He’s asked for the exact location to not be revealed to ensure it remains intact while his findings are investigated. He’ll be calling on the state and federal governments at his news conference to further look into the area and, in effect, prove him wrong.

Ray received a call Friday from a state archeologist who called his theory “interesting” but not substantial — that the site already had been looked at, but nothing was found. The Daily Record asked for the name of state archeologist, but Ray said he had dealt with several and couldn’t remember.

He shared his information with the University of North Florida team that has been looking for the site and with the National Park Service. Ray said the UNF team appeared enthusiastic about his findings.

An engineer by trade, Ray has no training in the archeological field but remains undeterred. He thinks the evidence he has found will prove his point and that further investigation from the proper agencies will show the fort was indeed along the St. Johns River.

Visits to the site garnered what they believe to be more-confirming evidence: coal used at such a facility, byproduct from blacksmithing and remnants of what could be pewter cups and plates. He has not had those items tested.

dchapman@baileypub.com

(904) 356-2466

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