Shipwreck discovered on Florida beach

Vessel uncovered by rough surf could be more than 100-years-old

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - Turtle patrollers discovered a shipwreck buried in the sand of Ponte Vedra Beach that has drawn the attention of archeologists.

Although they have not been able to officially pinpoint the time period, they say it is most likely a shrimp boat from the early 1900s or late 1800s.

"It could be a little bit older (than your) great grandparents' time," said archeologist Chuck Meide.

High winds and waves from a nor'easter earlier this week unearthed part of the wreck.  Researchers from St. Augustine's Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program are investigating.

The site is located in a remote area off of A1A, about halfway between Vilano Beach and Ponte Vedra -- about 1 mile north of about a mile north of the GTM Research Reserve.

GTM Research Reserve photo
About 15 feet of the boat's wooden ribs and keel are visible above the sand.

"It's always exciting for an archeologists to find a new shipwreck," Meide said. "We know the First Coast is littered with wrecks. We had visitors to St. Augustine in the 1780s who said you couldn't walk 50 paces down the beach without running into the old wooden bones of a ship wreck."

Meide's team worked Friday for a full-scale assessment of the site -- documenting every nail hole, spike and piece of timber -- and will produce a scaled-drawing that will help the archaeologists research the ship's origins.

The team said when their research is complete, they'll likely bury the shipwreck right where they found it -- then wait for the next nor'easter.

"The storms here are great from the archeologist point of view, because you never know what's going to be appear," Meide said. "There are always discoveries to be made after the storm has passed."

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