DAYTONA BEACH SHORES, Fla. (WFLA) — The mysterious debris unearthed by severe erosion from back-to-back hurricanes is believed to be parts of a wooden-hulled ship from the 1800s.
An archeological team told WESH they believe the ship is fairly intact.
“It’s a wooden-hulled shipwreck. It was held together with wooden pegs and also with iron fasteners,” said Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program.
WESH reported that many thought the debris could be an old dock or pier because it was parallel. Instead, after uncovering about 20 feet of the debris field, experts believe it’s a merchant or cargo ship dating back to the 1800s.
“If it was coming from the Caribbean it could have been fruit. It could have been lumber. If it was coming from the Gulf of Mexico, it could have been manufactured goods,” Meide told WESH.
Barry Chantler, who lives nearby, said he first noticed it on Nov. 24.
“It’s brilliant … I love history and something that’s not been discovered is almost like finding history for the first time, which I think it is,” Chantler told WESH.
WESH reported that no one can remember the ship being previously exposed. The team said they haven’t found any record of a shipwreck at the site but they will dig in deeper with the newly acquired data.
Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd said it is an important discovery but the erosion that exposed it is astounding.
“It is incredible but as Floridians, we are resilient people and we are going to rebuild and build the beach back better,” Byrd said.
The Associated Press reported that there are no plans to remove the ship from Daytona Beach Shores, not only because the cost would likely run in the millions of dollars, but because it is protected where it is, packed into the west sand, Meide said.
“We will let Mother Nature bury the wreck,” Meide said. “That will help preserve it. As long as that hull is in the dark and wet, it will last a very long time, hundreds of more years.”