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  Collections Corner  
 

 

Collections Corner

Sponge DiskWhat is 10 inches in diameter, made of concrete and has four holes in the middle?

The Bliss family recently donated a unique sponge disk dating back to 1906. This artifact represents an early attempt by the Greeks to cultivate sponges in the Gulf of Mexico. According to an article in the Clearwater Sun on September 28, 1969, Greek sponger Gus Cocoris and his brothers dropped 100 of these disks in the Gulf in hopes of increasing the growth rate of sponges. Live sponges were tied onto the disks, wrapped in heavy burlap and dropped in rows off the small island of Anclote Key. Cocoris stated that after 6 months the sponges had grown between four and six inches. This same method was used by the government in the Bahamas soon after a blight in the 1940s. Due to high costs and the long process required to produce a salable sponge these methods were eventually abandoned. Several disks, including this one, were found by members of the Peninsular Archaeological Society Inc. while on a field trip to Anclote Key in 1969.

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