Curriculum Vitae

John de Bry is an historian and paleographer specializing in 16th-18th century French, Spanish, and English manuscripts. He has conducted extensive research in European repositories. John is also an accomplished historical archaeologist and has participated in a number of excavation projects in the U.S., the Caribbean, South America, Madagascar, and the Philippines. He attended the École Nationale de Commerce and the École Pratique des Hautes Études, Paris-Sorbonne. He holds a MA in history and a doctorate in Post-Medieval History. He currently serves as the Director of the Center for Historical Archaeology in Melbourne Beach, Florida. John is also a direct descendant of the Fleming engraver Theodore de Bry who published, with the help of his family, the Great Voyages, notably the 1591 Brevis narratio that depicted and narrated the second voyage to Florida by René de Goulaine de Laudonnière and the establishment of Ft. Caroline.

(Additional notes: Dual citizen holding current valid U.S. and French [European Community] passports.)


Director, Center for Historical Archaeology, Melbourne Beach, Florida (Founded 1990)

The center for Historical Archaeology is a nonprofit organization according to the meanings of sections 501(c)(3) and 170(b)(A)(vi) of the United States Internal Revenue Code. Its purposes are (1) to promote research in Spanish and French colonial areas in the fields of archival research and cultural anthropology, including archaeology and ethnohistory; (2) to publish educational materials and research findings; and (3) to conduct research projects related to these purposes. FID Nº 59-3054027.


Université de La Rochelle & Musée du Nouveau Monde, La Rochelle (southwestern France) –  May 2011 – January 2013 - Co-organizer of a landmark exhibition celebrating the 450th anniversary of the three French expeditions to Florida of 1562, 1564, and 1565, that opened in La Rochelle on 25 September 2012, the exhibit will travel to Florida in the spring of 2013. Co-editor of a scholarly publication on the same above subject published on 18 September 2012.

Southeastern Archaeological Research, Inc / Research Contract for United States Department of the Interior, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) – September 2008 to September 2011 – Carrying out archival research in repositories in Spain (September-October 2008), France (March-April 2009), and Mexico (2009) for the study entitles Investigation for Potential Spanish Shipwrecks in Ultra-Deep Water (M08PC20030). Transcription, translation, and interpretation of relevant manuscript documents found in the abovementioned repositories.

History Channel 2 (HC2HD) – October-November 2010 – Expedition to Sainte-Marie Island, Madagascar, Principal Investigator/Chief Archaeologist, investigation and excavation (continues) of a pirate ship shipwreck tentatively identifies as the Fiery Dragon or Flying Dragon, scuttled by the pirate Christopher Condent in 1721. A two-hour documentary was aired on Sunday, November 20th, 2011, entitled “Pirate Island.” Post production historical and archaeological consultant for the production company Working Joe of Los Angeles.

 National Geographic Society & Arts and Exhibitions International – December 2006 to May 25, 2007 – “True Pirates” Exhibit (Premiere/opening Friday, June 29, 2007); Consultant, in charge of supervising conservation, selection, assemblage, and archaeological description of all artifacts for the National Geographic Society’s traveling exhibit “Real Pirates.”

Texas Historical Commission, Austin, Texas – 1996-1998 to present - Historical archaeologist and principal archival investigator for the La Salle Shipwreck Project. In July 1995, a team of researchers led by the Texas Historical Commission made one of the most remarkable underwater archaeological discoveries in decades; a 300-year-old shipwreck, the Belle, once belonging to famous French explorer La Salle. Texas State Marine Archaeologist Barto Arnold has hailed this discovery as “the earliest and most significant French vessel found in this hemisphere.” The shipwreck located in Matagorda Bay, 110 miles north of Corpus Christi, Texas, has been fully excavated and dismantled (March 1997), and the hull remains and artifacts are undergoing conservation and analysis at Texas A&M University. Artifact identification and analysis and translation and interpretation of manuscript documents are ongoing through 2007. Research was conducted in French and Spanish archival repositories.

 Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) at Texas A&M University – July 2001 to present - (ongoing research project) Conducting archival research in Cuban archives, such as the Archivo Nacional de Cuba and the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, both in Havana, aimed at uncovering historical data pertaining to the blockade runner Denbigh (1865), sunk off Galveston, Texas, and presently being excavated by a team of archaeologists from INA. Additional research was conducted in Spanish and French archival repositories.

Ships of Discovery, Corpus Christi Museum of Science & History, Corpus Christi, Texas –1993 to present - Discovery-period shipwreck site surveys and evaluation, artifact identification; Spanish colonial period shipwreck site assessment; Historical and archival research on ships of discovery (1492-1520); discovery period cartographic research; liaison with French maritime archaeologists, historians and archivists.

Turks and Caicos National Museum, Turks & Caicos Islands, B.W.I. – 1993 to present (ongoing archival research project) Conducting archival research on behalf of the Turks & Caicos National Museum in French archival repositories since 1994. Wrote three major reports on the early history and cartography of those islands. Archival research was conducted at the Archives Nationales de France, Paris, in April 2000, and a fourth report is presently being prepared (2002)

University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida – 1995 to present - Research Associate, archaeological excavation of Taino Indian site on Ile-à-Rat, off the north coats of Haiti, under the direction of Professor William F. Keegan, Co-Chair, Anthropology Department, Florida Museum of Natural History. Projects funded by the Heinz Foundation (June 1997), and the American Philosophical society (February 1996, June 1996). Research Associate for archaeological reconnaissance on the north coast of Haiti, under the direction of Professor William F. Keegan, Chair, Anthropology Department, Florida Museum of Natural History. Project funded by the Center for Historical Archaeology (May 1995); on-going archaeological surveys of historic and pre-historic site, north coast of Haiti. Last field excavation campaign: May 2000.

Pan-American Consultants, Inc., Memphis, Tennessee – February 2002 (ongoing research project). Conducting archival research in Cuban archives, such as the Archivo Nacional de Cuba and the Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, both in Havana, aimed at uncovering historical data pertaining to the steamer Manuela, a Cuban-owned ship that was sunk at the mouth of the harbor of San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1898, to prevent American ships from entering the harbor. Archaeologists from Panamerican Consultants, Inc. have been excavating the wreck of the Manuela as well as the wreck of the Cristobal Colón, a Puerto Rican steamer scuttled along side the Manuela.

Cayman Islands National Archive, Cayman Islands, B.W.I.  – 1997 to present (ongoing archival research project) Conducting archival research on behalf of the Cayman Islands National Archive in French repositories and Spanish Repositories. Located and identified the oldest known nautical chart (1530) bearing the name Cayman for those islands. Additional research was conducted in the Archivo General de Indias, Seviile, Spain; Archivo General de Simancas, Valladolid, Spain; the archives of the port-city of Nantes (Archives Départementales de Loire-Atlantique), France; and in Archives Nationales, Paris, yielding valuable historical data.

North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources, Underwater Archaeology Unit – 1999, Ongoing archival research in French archives on Site 0003BUI, suspected of being the wreck of Blackbeard’s (Howard Teach) Queen Anne’s Revenge (1718). The research is aimed at determining if the pirate ship Queen Anne’s Revenge was the French slaver la Concorde, from Nantes, Captain Pierre Dosset, captured by pirates near St. Vincent in November 1717.

Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida – Identification of 18th -century cannon found on the wreck site of a suspected 18th-century English ship, in Kingstown Harbour, Island of St. Vincent, British West Indies, and conducted archival research aimed at identifying the wreck. This research is ongoing (2002).

HAI/95/010 - «Route 2004» - 1998 to present - (ongoing archaeological project) Consulting and archaeological field work on the northeast coast of Haiti under the auspices of the Haitian Ministry of Culture, the United Nations Project Development (UNPD), and the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO). The Project is aimed at identifying, investigating, and protecting terrestrial and submerged archaeological sites. Among the goals of «Route 2004» Project are to resume partial excavation of the port town of Puerto Real (established in 1503), resume excavations at the En Bas Saline site to determine if it represents the village of Guacanagaric, the Taino cacique who greeted and provided shelter to Christopher Columbus and his men following the grounding of Columbus’s flagship, the Santa Maria, attempt to locate the site of La Navidad and of the wreck of the Santa Maria, and establish an inventory of submerged cultural resources from the Baie de l’Acul, just west of Cape-Haitian, to the Dominican Republic border.

 Jesus in Egypt Documentary Project – April to June 2004 – Consulting archaeologist on a documentary film project focusing on the tradition of the Holy Family in Egypt, filmed in the field and various other locations in the Sinai Peninsula, the Nile Delta, and Upper Egypt for a total of 7 weeks. The documentary is based on a book, ­Jesus in Egypt; Discovering the Secrets of Christ’s Childhood Years­, written by best-selling author Paul Perry and published by Ballantine Books in December 2003. The documentary was premiered at the Opera House in Cairo, Egypt, on Monday, June 27, 2005, and will air on the History Channel in the fall of 2006.

Discovery Channel, Silver Spring, Maryland – February 2003 to June 2003 - Scientific consultant for the Discovery Channel. Chief Underwater Archaeologist on The Quest for Columbus – The search for the Santa Maria. On-going project to search for, locate and excavate Christopher  Columbus’s flagship Santa Maria, grounded and lost off the north coast of Haiti on Christmas day 1492, during Columbus’s first voyage of discovery. The loss of the ship led to the founding of La Navidad, the first European settlement in the New World. A team of archaeologists, historians and technicians has launched a high tech search for the elusive flagship and the lost settlement. Dr. de Bry is the Chief Underwater Archaeologist for this project. Documentary premiered on the Discovery Channel in May 2004.

Discovery Channel, Silver Spring, Maryland – February 2000 to November 2000 - Scientific consultant for the Discovery Channel. Chief Underwater Archaeologist on three expeditions to Madagascar (January-November 2000), sponsored by the Discovery Channel, to locate and investigate the wreck of the Adventure Galley (1698) abandoned by Captain William Kidd in the natural harbor of Sainte-Marie Island, off the northeast coast of Madagascar. In addition to the Adventure Galley, the wreck of the pirate ship the Fiery Dragon (1721) was also discovered and positively identified. The expeditions and findings were the subject of a major documentary, The Quest for Captain Kidd, narrated by actor Mel Gibson, which premiered on the Discovery Channel on Sunday, June 10, 2001. Post production consultant, checking for accuracy in artwork depiction of time-period clothing, weapons and tools, and accuracy in historical facts, dates, and spelling and pronunciation of Malagasy proper names and place names.

National Geographic Society – 1997 -Historical Consultant for National Geographic Magazine’s Editorial Staff on La Salle Last Voyage article in the May 1997 issue of the magazine. The article focused on the French explorer’s ill-fated expedition to the Gulf region, his failed attempt to locate the mouth of the Mississippi River and establish a colony there, and on the historic discovery and excavation of his ship in Matagorda Bay, Texas, the La Belle, by the Texas Historical Commission. Responsibilities included checking for accuracy in artwork depiction of time-period clothing, weapons and tools, and accuracy in historical facts, dates, and spelling of La Salle’s expedition members.

 National Museum of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines – 1993-1995. Conducted research on behalf of the National Museum of the Philippines in French archival repositories, aimed at establishing the level of interest France had in the Philippines during the latter part of the XVIIIth-century, as well as arriving at a better understanding of French naval presence and maritime traffic in the region. Fieldwork: site evaluation and dating of shipwrecks on Panagatan Cays, Semirara Islands, Philippines.

Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de Venezuela – 1998-1999. Conducted and supervised underwater archaeological survey of the Aves Islands, 90 nautical miles off shore the coast of Venezuela, aimed at assessing the submerged cultural resources of the archipelago.

Instituto del Patrimonio Cultural de Ecuador – March–May 1997 -Officially identified the wreck of the Jesús María de la Limpia Concepción, also known as la Capitana, which Left Callao, Peru, on 18 October 1654, and subsequently lost off Chanduy Reef, Ecuador, on the 27th of October 1654. The sinking of the Capitana represented one of Spain’s biggest losses in the New World. The vast majority of the precious cargo was eventually salvaged by the Spanish Crown, and through subsequent salvage operations, both official and illicit. Identification process involved in situ recording and analysis of cultural material, and archival research at the Archivo General de Indias (AGI), in Seville, Spain.

Department of Antiquities and Museums, Ministry of Education, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia - 1981-1982 Research Associate for terrestrial and underwater archaeological surveys of Red Sea and western coast of Saudi Arabia. Test excavation of early 18th-century shipwreck at Sharm-al-Yanbu.


Archives Départementales de la Charente-Maritime, La Rochelle, France.

Archives Départementales de la Gironde, Bordeaux, France.

Archives Départementales de Loire-Atlantique, Nantes, France

Archives Diplomatiques, Ministère des Affaires Etrangères, Paris, France

Archives du Musée de la Marine, Paris, France

Archives Nationales, Paris, France

Archives de la ville de Paris, Paris, France

Archives du Port de Rochefort, Rochefort, France

Archivo General de Indias (AGI), Seville, Spain

Archivo General de Simancas (AGS), Simancas (Valladolid), Spain

Archivo Nacional de Cuba, Havana, Cuba

Biblioteca Nacional José Martí, Havana, Cuba

Biblioteca del Instituto de Literatura y Lingüística, Havana, Cuba

Bibliothèque des Fontaines (Jesuit Archives), Chantilly, France

Bibliothèque Forney, Paris, France

Bibliothèque Mazarine, Paris, France

Bibliothèque du Musée Condé, Institut de France, Château de Chantilly, Chantilly, France

Bibliothèque Nationale de France, Paris, France

Centre des Archives d’Outre-Mer, Aix-en-Provence, France

The British Library, London, United Kingdom

The British Naval Record Office, London, United Kingdom

The Imperial War Museum, London, United Kingdom

The Library of Congress, Washington, DC

The New York Public Library, New York, NY

The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, NY

The Public Record Office (PRO)/National Archive, Kew, United Kingdom

Service Historique de la Marine, Vincennes, France


Member of the Florida Archaeological Council

Member of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Williamsburg, Virginia

Member of the Nautical Archaeology Society, Skipton, United Kingdom

Former Member of the Florida Department of State Reserve Area Task Force since February 1990. Appointed by the Secretary of State, advises the Secretary of State on State Policy and Procedures regarding the establishment and management of underwater archaeological reserves, and the management and protection of Florida’s offshore cultural resources..

Member of the Hakluyt Society, London, United Kingdom.

Member of the Ordnance Society, Norwich, United Kingdom.

Fellow of the New York Explorers Club of New York, New York.