05/1/10

Old Corolla shipwreck to go to Hatteras museum

Remains of a ship nearly 400 years old salvaged from the surf early this month will be moved from Corolla to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum in Hatteras.

The wreck now sits exposed to the elements under an oak tree near the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. State and local officials agreed it would be better off out of the weather.

Typically, sand and salt water protect old wrecks, but once up on land and dried, they tend to deteriorate.
Plans are to move the wreck to the museum about 90 miles south within the next few weeks, said Joe Newberry, spokesman for the North Carolina Maritime Museums.

The skeleton of large timbers is h eld together with wooden pegs and is 17 feet wide, 37 feet long and weighs 12 tons. I t could be the oldest shipwreck ever discovered on the North Carolina coast.

State underwater archaeologists plan to study the wreck further to document its construction and try to identify the ship. When the remains appeared years ago deep in the sand near the Currituck lighthouse, beachcombers found coins and other artifacts around them.

Severe storms late last year fully exposed the timbers and grabbed the attention of state scientists. In the p ast few months, surf and tide moved the wreck two miles south and washed away some of its pieces.
On April 6, crews from the Wildlife Resources Commission, the Corolla fire department and local residents helped hoist it from the sand and drag it on a sled to the lot near the lighthouse.

The Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum, a facility built for telling the stories of the hundreds of shipwrecks along the North Carolina coast, agreed to store the remains in an available show room. Click here for for the complete story in the Virginia Pilot.

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