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Shipwreck Discovered Off North Carolina Coast, Possibly 18th Century

NC Coastline

Scientists have discovered a shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina which, according to archaeologists who examined photos of artifacts dredged from the depths, appears to date back as far the late 18th century.

The artifacts discovered by the team of scientists behind the expedition include an iron chain, unglazed pottery jug, glass bottles and a metal compass. If the archaeologists who examined the photos are right, the ship might date back to the American Revolution. If the ship does date all the way back to the 18th century, its discovery would mark a rare find.

Cindy Van Dover, a marine scientist and director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory, was quoted in a Duke University news release as having said that find is an “exciting” one which serves as “a vivid reminder that even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean,” the deep sea still has secrets left to discover.

This is an exciting find, and a vivid reminder that even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean, the deep sea holds its secrets close

According to the aforementioned Duke University news release, the wreck appears to date back to either the late 18th or early 19th century.

The research expedition responsible for the discovery, which was made on July 12 during an expedition aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) research ship Atlantis, included marine scientists from Duke University as well as those from North Carolina State University and the University of Oregon.

The wreck was spotted with WHOI’s robotic autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Sentry and manned submersible Alvin after scanning sonar revealed the remains of a previously unknown shipwreck more than a mile below the ocean’s surface off the coast of North Carolina.

Van Dover previously led four expeditions to the site where the wreckage was found, each time aided by submersible research technology which was used to explore the sea floor. But it wasn’t until the most recent expedition that the wreckage was discovered, a discovery which Dover referred to as “ironic” in light of the fact that they were previously exploring within 100 meters of the wreck without so much as “an inkling” that it was there.

I have led four previous expeditions to this site, each aided by submersible research technology to explore the sea floor — including a 2012 expedition where we used Sentry to saturate adjacent areas with sonar and photo images (…) It’s ironic to think we were exploring within 100 meters of the wreck site without an inkling it was there.

In other news, billionaire Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen discovered a sunken Japanese battleship dating back to World War II.

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