ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A boat, which experts believe is from the 1800s, has a new home after crews stumbled upon it during a road construction project.
The Florida Department of Transportation was working on drainage improvement along King Street and State Road A1A in St. Augustine in October when they discovered the historic boat.
Dr. James Delgado with SEARCH, a company headquartered in Orlando that describes itself as a global leader in maritime archeology, talked about what’s next for the artifact with Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden on Florida’s Fourth Estate.
Delgado said it took crews five days to remove the vessel from the ground.
He said the job included removing dirt, muck, and even oysters from the outside of the boat.
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After exposing it, he said the team then documented it and lifted it out of the ground. The boards were then wrapped in cloth and put into freshwater tanks at the Lighthouse Maritime Museum so they wouldn’t deteriorate.
He said it is now safe and out of the way, but the work is not done.
“Now what would have to happen is more documentation, reconstructing it on paper, and discussions beginning about what’s next,” Delgado said.
What’s next could include putting it on display. Delgado described that as a lengthier and more costly option, but stressed that, at this stage, things are being lined up so more informed decisions can be made.
Despite being only 20 feet long, Delgado said the boat still has cultural significance.
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“In all the years I have worked on this, whether it has been a bigger shipwreck, (the) Titanic, wrecks at Pearl Harbor, others that I have worked on — Clotilda, the last slave ship — these powerful stories that connect us to ships like that are one part of it, but there’s also these vessels that with no name speak to the reality of life as well and sharing that is practically one of the best days on the job,” he said.
To learn more about the unnamed vessel and Delgado’s work uncovering other vessels in Florida with National Geographic check out Florida’s Fourth Estate. You can download it from wherever you listen to podcasts or watch it anytime on the News 6+ app for your smart TV.