Mystery Beach Object Is Labeled a Shipwreck

It emerged from Florida sands after beach was eroded
By Mike L. Ford,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 5, 2022 7:25 PM CST
Updated Dec 9, 2022 1:22 PM CST
Shipwreck? Erosion Exposes Mysterious Object on Beach
Members of a team of archaeologists study a wooden structure in the sand, Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2022, in Daytona Beach, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)
UPDATE Dec 9, 2022 1:22 PM CST

A mysterious structure found at Daytona Beach Shores after Hurricane Nicole removed much of the beach appears to be a shipwreck from the 1800s, archaeologists say. "This is definitely a ship," Chuck Meide, director of the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, tells the Daytona Beach News-Journal. "You can see these timbers sticking up, those are massive, and the way they’re arranged, that’s how you build a ship.” The team is now searching for clues that could help determine the ship's name and country of origin before sand covers it again. Meide says the ship is going to stay where it is because moving it would cost millions and it is already being protected by the wet sand. "We will let Mother Nature bury the wreck," he says, per the AP. "As long as that hull is in the dark and wet, it will last a very long time, hundreds of more years."

Dec 5, 2022 7:25 PM CST

Erosion caused by recent hurricanes has uncovered a mystery at Daytona Beach Shores: an 80-foot-long wooden structure or debris field. So far, it’s anyone’s guess as to what it is, per the New York Times. It could be a shipwreck, according to officials at the Florida Dept. of State, but others have speculated it might just be an old pier or barrier, or perhaps even the remains of seating from back when NASCAR races were held there. Officials with Volusia County Beach Safety say the debris might also have metal in it, but it’s hard to explore because it becomes submerged during high tide. State officials have called in archaeologists to take a closer during low tide on Monday.

The object was exposed after Hurricane Nicole passed through the area last month, but Hurricane Ian also caused its share of erosion when it struck in September. Per WKMG News, beach officials say that—regardless of what the object turns out to be—it’s “just another example” of the amount of the dramatic beach erosion that has resulted from recent storms. One official who has worked the beach for 25 years was surprised to find such a large debris field exposed for the first time and was puzzled by what it could be.

The structure is in a part of Daytona Beach Shores that is currently inaccessible to beachgoers because workers are hustling to rebuild dunes destroyed by Nicole. According to Fox 35, officials are trying to protect the object and its surroundings, mainly from untrained explorers or potential looters who could disrupt the site, including not only the object but any artifacts that may be in the vicinity. As a reminder, the outlet reminds beachgoers that it is a third-degree felony to remove artifacts from such a site without permission. (Read more erosion stories.)

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