Saturday, November 05, 2005


Rudder from shipwreck washes ashore


News Journal Online
November 03, 2005

ST. AUGUSTINE -- A 12-foot rudder from a ship which sank more than a century ago has been removed from Vilano Beach and moved to a nearby research center for study and display.

The rudder, believed to have come from a 130- to 160-foot-long sailing ship, washed ashore a few weeks ago.

On Tuesday, the half-ton artifact was removed off a sand dune and taken to the Guana Tolomato Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve.

John Morris III, executive director of Southern Archaeological Services, wants to find out more about the ship the rudder may have come from.

"I will go back and look at all the notes I have accumulated over the years of working here from vessels close to this size and date," said Morris, who estimated the rudder was from a sinking in the mid- to late-1800s.

Morris said he wants to go offshore next spring with sonar and a magnetometer to see if he can find the rest of the wreck.

The rudder, with its lower half sheathed in weathered copy, appeared in the surf in early October.

Morris, who has worked the last decade investigating wrecks off St. Augustine, alerted the state and St. Johns County after examining it on Oct. 20.

Florida archaeological officials gave permission to move the rudder to the preserve.
"I didn't want this to end up as a coffee table," Morris said.


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