Fritz on campus at Texas State University. (R. Braziell/Statesman)
Having worked on underwater sites from a wide variety of time periods, his research ranges from submerged prehistoric deposits in springs and caverns to historic shipwrecks. Fritz has searched for, surveyed, and excavated shipwrecks from the time of Columbus to the California Gold Rush. While at Indiana University, he helped lead the team that surveyed and excavated Captain Kidd's lost ship, the Quedagh Merchant.
Fritz prior to a survey dive off the coast of Panama. (D. Rissolo)
Fritz is currently the co-director of the Rio Chagres Maritime Cultural Landscape Study, of which the Lost Ships of Henry Morgan Project is but one phase. The study seeks to uncover over 500 years of maritime activity in the Chagres River on the Caribbean coast of Panama. From Christopher Columbus' arrival at the river during his fourth and final voyage in 1502 to the burgeoning Spanish Empire, through attacks by both Francis Drake and Henry Morgan to the California Gold Rush and the damming of the river to create the modern-day Panama Canal, the Chagres River has played, and continues to play, a relatively unknown, yet pivotal role in the history of the Western Hemisphere. Fritz led the first-ever archaeological survey of the river mouth and coastal approaches in 2008, documenting the tangible remains of this rich history. This survey led to the discovery of the cannons tossed overboard when five ships Morgan's fleet wrecked en route to sacking Panama City in 1671. Fritz will be running a live blog on the DOXA website when the team returns to the field to search for the rest of the lost ships of Morgan's privateer fleet.
Fritz begins the excavation of a test pit in Spring Lake. (J. Hooge)
Fritz is also the director of the underwater archaeological research in Spring Lake in San Marcos, TX. Excavations that took place in the late 1970s yielded hundreds of thousands of artifacts, including a number of Clovis points, one of the earliest known cultures in North America. He and a team of archaeologists at Texas State University have initiated new underwater research in a quest to uncover more evidence of the North American continent's ancient inhabitants and the environment in which they lived.
"Fritz is not only an ambassador for DOXA, he is an ambassador for the new generation of archaeologists/explorers who continue to unlock the secrets of the past for the good of humanity. I'm proud to call him a friend and a colleague - and a fellow diver who relies on DOXA as his dive watch," said DOXA Seahunter and underwater archaeologist James P. Delgado.
DOXA welcomes Fritz aboard and highly anticipates updates on these ongoing projects and other discoveries that will undoubtedly come to light in the future.