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History Resurfaces: Newfoundland Residents Discover Centuries-Old Shipwreck Washed Ashore

Centuries-Old Shipwreck Turns Up on Newfoundland Coast
Source: Unsplash

A centuries-old shipwreck turned up off the Newfoundland coast.

Feb. 5 2024, Published 3:04 p.m. ET

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The appearance of a centuries-old shipwreck off the coast near J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park in Newfoundland and Labrador has left residents in astonishment.

The discovery of a substantial section of an ancient wooden hull in the shallow waters near Cape Ray suggests the wreck could date to the 19th century.

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Gordon Blackmore, a local resident, recently stumbled upon the shipwreck while hunting seabirds along the Cape Ray shores. Blackmore shared the find with his family, who, in turn, informed the Canadian press, according to The Guardian.

The news sparked curiosity, attracting Corey Purchase, who captured drone footage of the wreckage. Purchase, amazed by the size of the find, noted, "It's a lot bigger than what I thought it would be... And I think what we can see is only half of it because it looks like it was broken off," SaltWire reported.

Neil Burgess, president of the Shipwreck Preservation Society of Newfoundland and Labrador, examined the footage and speculated on the ship's possible origin.

"It's just a wild guess right now but, from looking at photos and drone image, it probably is from the 1800s... If it's oak or beech or a hardwood species like that, it will tell us it wasn't made here in Newfoundland and was probably made over in Europe somewhere," Burgess stated, as reported by UPI.

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Residents, fueled by curiosity, have taken to the Cape Ray Community's Facebook page to discuss the potential origins and share theories. The community is actively exploring old records and family knowledge to piece together the history of the shipwreck.

Elizabeth Gover, a resident, expressed the significance of uncovering this piece of history. "It is a part of our history that has just been awakened. Some descendants will still want to know the names and the places where their ancestors were lost in the icy waters off our shores," she told The Guardian. "It would be good for all of us if we could offer some history we know and a place for remembrance. At least a marker... This is our history. Let’s find out."

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According to Burgess, the ship may have been buried beneath the seabed and recently exposed due to coastal erosion and the aftermath of post-tropical storm Fiona, which affected the region last year.

Large ocean swells might have finally dislodged the wreck, pushing it towards the shore.

In response to the discovery, the provincial government dispatched a team to the site to identify and potentially preserve what remains of the ship.

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Archaeologist Jamie Brake emphasized the importance of leaving the wreckage undisturbed for better research outcomes.

Despite efforts to safeguard the shipwreck, locals are concerned about natural threats, particularly the powerful waves at Cape Ray potentially pulling the wreckage back into the sea. Wayne Osmond, a Cape Ray resident, reminded everyone of the unpredictable sea ice, warning that it could cause more damage within hours than centuries of submersion in deeper waters.

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