Historic City News reader Marc Anthony, owner of Spanish Main Antiques in St Augustine, reported what he believes to be a centuries-old ship’s hull recently washed up on the beach of the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas Research Reserve.
The shipwreck has captured the interest of local residents and reserve visitors as well. Since Thursday, an estimated 1,000 people per day have visited the shipwreck.
“We are excited about this discovery and the opportunity to welcome these enthusiastic visitors,” said Joe Burgess, resource management coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve. “Due to the increase in traffic, we want to remind residents to utilize designated parking areas to ensure visitors and our environment are protected.”
Anthony, who dates the wreckage as 18th century (1700’s), said that researchers from the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the Florida Public Archaeology Network, and archaeologists from the University of South Florida, are all using this discovery to participate in the research.
Eventually, researchers will move the shipwreck into a high tide area of the beach so that the hull does not further deteriorate. The shipwreck is protected as an archaeological site. While viewing and taking photos are encouraged, touching the shipwreck or removing artifacts from the site are prohibited by state law.
Free public parking is available on Guana Reserve property in the lot north and immediately adjacent to the Exxon Outpost station on Coastal Highway. In addition, parking is available at the Middle Beach Access Parking Lot for a fee of $3 per vehicle.