Subscribe
Science Notebook

Mysterious shipwreck discovered off North Carolina coast (+video)

Artifacts on the wreck indicate it might date as far back as the late 1700s – the time of the American Revolution.

In deep waters, a hundred miles off the coast of North Carolina coast, scientists have discovered debris from an unknown shipwreck that could have sunk around the time of the American Revolution.

Marine scientists from Duke University, North Carolina State University, and the University of Oregon stumbled across the shipwreck on July 12 during a research expedition aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research ship Atlantis.

"This is an exciting find, and a vivid reminder that even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean, the deep sea holds its secrets close," expedition leader Cindy Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory, said in a statement.

Recommended: Costa Concordia: Why navigation might 'fail' and other cruise ship questions

Van Dover said that she had led four previous expeditions as early as 2012 to the same site – about a mile deep – and had no idea the wreckage was there. “It’s ironic to think we were exploring within 100 meters of the wreck site without an inkling it was there.”

An iron chain, a pile of wooden ship timbers, red bricks, glass bottles, an unglazed pottery jug, a metal compass, a navigational instrument, possibly a sextant are among the artifacts discovered in the shipwreck’s broken remains.

The marine scientists didn’t set out to find a shipwreck but were on an expedition focused on exploring the ecology of deep-sea methane seeps along the East Coast.

“Our accidental find illustrates the rewards – and the challenge and uncertainty – of working in the deep ocean,” Van Dover said. “We discovered a shipwreck but, ironically, the lost mooring was never found.”

James Delgado, director of the Marine Heritage Program, said in the statement that the wreck rests along the path of the Gulf Stream, which sailors have used for centuries as a maritime highway to North American ports, the Caribbean, the Gulf of Mexico, and South America 

“The find is exciting, but not unexpected,” he said. “Violent storms sent down large numbers of vessels off the Carolina coasts, but few have been located because of the difficulties of depth and working in an offshore environment.”

Mr. Delgado and other archaeologists are analyzing images and videos that the researchers captured and hope this will enable them to tell whether the ship was a trade or a war vessel.

“That could tell us far more because in many ways those hundreds of voyages, thousands of voyages, really wrote the history of America in a very powerful way at the same time we were advancing and expanding west,” Delgado told The News and Observer.

The team also reported their find to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Marine Heritage Program, which will try to date and identify the ship.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK