Science

What appears to be a wooden ship from the 1800s uncovered by storm beach erosion

storm shipwreck
Ariel Cathers records information in a notebook at the site of an exposed wooden structure in the sand on Dec. 6, 2022 in Daytona Beach Shores, Fla. Severe beach erosion caused by two late-season storms helped partially expose what appears to be an 80-foot-long shipwreck in the sand off the Daytona Beach coast, officials said.

John Roux / AP


Daytona Beach Shores, Fla., – Severe beach erosion from two late-season storms has helped uncover a wooden shipwreck from the 1800s that was buried under sand on Florida’s east coast, which may have been a beach or sand castle. Was impregnable for daily driving cars. generations of tourists.

Beachgoers and lifeguards discovered wooden structures, measuring 80 feet to 100 feet tall), jutting out of the sand in front of homes over Thanksgiving weekend that crumbled into rubble on Daytona Beach Shores last month. hurricane nicole,

“Whenever you see a shipwreck on a beach, it’s really a wonderful event. It’s a mystery, you know. It’s not one day, and it’s the next day, so it really appeals to the imagination.” does,” said marine archaeologist Chuck Meade, who led an archeology team from St. Augustine, Florida, to investigate the beach discovery on Tuesday.

hurricane Ian made landfall on the southwest coast of Florida in late September and exited into the Atlantic Ocean over central Florida. Nicole devastated much of the Volusia County coastline in early November, leaving behind homes that had fallen into the sea because they had become vulnerable to erosion from Ian.

“It’s a rare experience, but it’s not unique, and it seems Climate change And the more intense the hurricane season, the more frequently it’s happening,” Mead said of the finding.

The archeology team removed sand and dug a shallow ditch around the structure’s timbers on Monday and Tuesday, took measurements and made sketches in an effort to solve the 200-year mystery. Members of the digging team moved from spade to spade and then their hands as more of the frame was exposed, so as not to damage any of the wood.

“It’s going very fast today, but it’s going to take a long time,” said one of the team members, Arielle Cathers, as she unearths parts of the wooden frame, kneeling in the sand around the ditch. ” “You really want to go carefully.”

Mead, who serves as director of the research branch of the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum in Florida, said he is convinced the structure is a shipwreck because of how it was constructed and the materials used, such as iron bolts. it was done.

It is not uncommon for objects to be washed ashore after storms, or to be uncovered along beaches.

In Martin County, about 160 miles south of Volusia County, Nicoll’s wind and waves uncovered the skeletal remains of six people believed to be from a Native American burial site. A historic steamer-style trunk and other items also washed up on the beaches.

After the initial discovery two weeks ago, sand from the waves re-buried the ship’s timbers which became visible on Daytona Shores Beach. Members of the archeology team this week do not intend to uncover the full length of the ship, but only close enough to measure it, draw it and possibly take some wood samples to test its provenance.

There are no plans to remove the ship from the Daytona Beach shores, not only because the cost could run into the millions of dollars, but because it is preserved where it is packed in wet sand, Mead said.

“We’ll let Mother Nature bury the debris,” he said. “That will help preserve it. As long as this hull is dark and wet, it will last for a very long time, hundreds more years.”

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