A team of researchers on a scientific expedition discovered a 17th century shipwreck of the North Carolina Coast. Their boat’s scanning sonar stumbled across the remains of the ship located more than a mile deep. Early analysis suggests that the ship may date back to the American Revolution.
The expedition, led by Cindy Van Dover, of Duke University, was actually on an expedition to study the intricacies of deep sea ecosystems. They were on their way back from the Blake Plateau, which they had been investigating with their sonar.
Aside from the Duke University researchers, there were also scientists from the University of Oregon and the North Carolina State University.
Aboard the shipwreck, scientists found multiple artifacts, such as glass bottles, iron chains, navigational instruments and an unglazed pottery jug. The exciting find, researchers note, is only one of the many vivid reminders that the deep oceans still hold many mysteries, regardless of our advances in ocean exploration capabilities.
Van Dover and her team had been studying marine life in the vicinity of the shipwreck. In fact, she states, it’s actually ironic that her team had been exploring the waters off the North Carolina coast and failed to notice that there could have been a shipwreck there.
“Our accidental find illustrates the rewards – and the challenge and uncertainty – of working in the deep ocean,” Van Dover said.
The data collected by the team of researchers was handed in to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Marine Heritage Program. Hopefully, they will be able to identify the lost ship after returning to the site.
As Marine Heritage Program director James Delgado explains, the area where the shipwreck was found lies close to the Gulf Stream’s path, a navigation route often used by sailors on their way to the North American ports.
At the moment, Delgado and other specialists are examining video footage that the team of researchers captured in hopes that they can better tell whether the ship was a war or trade vessel.
Photo credits: CBS Atlanta