an accidental find
It’s not every day that you find a piece of history. In fact, artifacts are usually uncovered by accident. The odds of finding something purposefully are slim enough as is. Even carefully planned expeditions can turn up nothing for years. If you do find something, there’s also the chance of damaging or destroying the item.
The Odds of Finding a Shipwreck
For aforementioned reasons, it’s rather lucky then that a team of researchers found something unusual in the waters of North Carolina while exploring the sea with a sonar. The find came about on the 12th of July when researchers from three universities aboard the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution research ship found the shipwreck.
What they had been looking for was something that was left behind previously in 2012, a mooring. Instead, they found the ship’s wreckage. Based on the items uncovered, it’s estimated that the shipwreck could be from the late 1700s, around the time of the American Revolution.
Because of the nature of the various artifacts and items seen with the AUV, the shipwreck appears to be a trade ship. The find, as with every find in science, is a reminder to the scientists, the science community, and the public that there are things that we still don’t know about our world and the ocean.
Cindy Van Dover, director of the Duke University Marine Laboratory and deep sea biologist said in Duke Today, “It’s ironic to think we were exploring within 100 meters of the wreck site without an inkling it was there,” about the previous exploration in 2012.
Next on the agenda
What is next for the shipwreck you ask? Well after the find and initial awe and lucky happenstance, the team alerted the NOAA Marine Heritage Program of the discovery to see if they could identify what the shipwreck is, what time period it is from, and what it was used for. This can be done by examining the various artifacts found with the wreck.
Despite this amazing find, however, the original intent of the search was in vain, as the mooring was never found.