Exciting details came in to Historic City News Wednesday morning, when turtle patrollers stumbled across the wooden ribs and keel of an ancient shipwreck; buried in the dunes just south of Ponte Vedra Beach.
High winds and waves from last week’s nor’easter are credited with eroding enough sand to expose the surprise archeological treasure.
“Thursday morning, Director of Archaeology, Chuck Meide, and fellow archaeologists from the St Augustine Lighthouse and Museum, arrived on the scene; located approximately one mile north of the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas Research Reserve Environmental Education Center — to take a closer look,” Michael Shirley, Ph.D., told local Historic City News reporters.
Dr. Shirley, Director at the Research Reserve, said that beaches had been closed for several days because of the storm front. He said that there was sufficient wind, rain, and tide to unearth about fifteen feet of the boat’s wooden ribs and keel; now visible above the sand.
Researchers from the St Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program are investigating the wreck site and believe the vessel could be over 100 years old. The team has not been able to officially pinpoint the time period yet; but, based on some of the ironwork and the ship’s build, it’s most likely a shrimp boat from the early 1900’s or late 1800’s.
The group took initial measurements Wednesday, but plans to return this afternoon for a full-scale assessment of the site — including a scaled drawing that will help the archaeologists date and research the ship’s origins.