A mystery shipwreck has people everywhere looking not only down into the watery depths this week, but also glancing back into the past. The ancient remains of a sunken ship roughly a mile under the ocean have been brought up to the surface, not far from the North Carolina coast. CNN News shares an update on this story this Tuesday, July 21, 2015, noting that the discovery might yield points of interest dating back to the time that America was becoming a new republic, not simply a colony.
For the most part, shipwrecks are only found in today’s society in the deep pages of a favorite storybook. Yet a team of experts happened to find a very real mystery shipwreck quite by mistake this summer in the Atlantic Ocean. The researchers aren’t sure exactly yet which time in history the ancient vessel dates back to, but they currently believe it to have ridden (and sunk into) the seas sometime in the late 1700s or early 1800s.
In addition to the rotting wreckage, the recovery team has so far also helped bring to light a number of artifacts that seem to speak to history itself. Some of these interesting items include a heavy iron chain, a metal compass, ship timbers, and numerous red-colored bricks. A single ceramic jug and a rusted navigational object were also salvaged from the ocean floor.
According to a report from the Washington Post, the team of scientists was initially searching for a mooring that had been lost on a previous expedition. Yet they managed to find a mystery shipwreck instead, thanks to the location efforts of Alvin, a technologically advanced submersible. The underwater crew is very excited about their ancient discovery, and what secrets the remains may yield when looking back into America’s memorable past.
“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,” revealed group leader Cindy Van Dover in a comment to the press. Van Dover serves as the director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory.
In addition to the director, experts from the University of Oregon and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration were also part of the underwater recovery expedition. The group was using the Atlantis, a research-intended ship, as the base of their observations, as well as utilizing an underwater searcher known as Sentry. Funnily enough, while the shipwreck has been found, their past mooring is still lost.
Currently, NOAA is attempting to identify the particular mystery vessel that had sunk as well as any information regarding the numerous recovered artifacts within. These artifacts are currently being documented by experts, and underwater cameras are being sent over a mile below the ocean’s surface to determine what else may be found among the remains. The location and type of artifacts might also help determine the ship’s origin, and if it is an American ship, it might very well give us a unique window to a time when our country was once “new” as a standalone republic, instead of a colony.
“The context of the artifacts are important to understand whether they are cargo or personal belongings,” said one researcher. Another scientist noted, “If this wreck is as old as we think it is, it comes at a time when America is between a colony and a republic … It’s an exciting period where America is really opening as an independent nation to the rest of the world.”
The recovery of this mystery shipwreck isn’t the only historical finding making news this summer. In late May, an incredible discovery was brought to the surface in Pompeii. The remains of a child and her mother being buried alive — quite literally frozen in time — nearly 2,000 years ago was revealed. Archaeologists have confirmed that a plaster cast is being made of the remains of a mother and her baby who died in a burst of ash to forever immortalize the heartrending scene.