Thursday, November 25, 2004


Sunken 19th-century ship discovered off St. Augustine shore

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - A sunken 19th-century ship, uncovered by Hurricane Jeanne's beach erosion, has been discovered along the coast of this northeast Florida community.

Anastasia State Park rangers found the remnants of the vessel sticking up in the park's shoreline in October. Billy Morris, a St. Augustine-based maritime archaeologist, said the ship was a coastal trading vessel that could date back to earlier than 1835.

He said it would be difficult to study the ship because it remains covered by about 6 to 10 inches of sand. He estimated it could be between 130 and 150 feet long.

Morris said the ship's bow broke off from the rest of the vessel and is stuck in the park's shore.

The ship's location has been logged into a statewide database to keep it protected. Morris said both the state and the park would need to be consulted to excavate the ship, but it is usually better to leave ships where they're found.

"(Ships) become part of the environment and often times it's best to leave it alone," said Roger Smith of the Florida Bureau of Archaeology Research. Park officials said they plan to leave the ship in place.

Jeanne was the last of four hurricanes to strike the state this year, making landfall in late September near Stuart.

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