Saturday, August 3, 2013

8/3/13 Report - Pirate Ship Discovered, Encrusted Objects & Storm Forming

Written by the TreasureGuide for the exclusive use of

Shipwreck Site Shown in Circle
From Wink News Now video.  See link.
Yesterday I presented the blog poll results showing the large percent of people who travel to the Treasure Coast to treasure hunt and metal detect.  Yesterday I got a report of a pirate ship wreck that some are calling a potential "treasure trove" for tourism.

Here is one link with the story and a nice video.  Among other things, the video shows the shallow water wreck site as seen from air.

The wreck is thought to be a pirate ship from the Civil War era - possibly a schooner skow.

It lies in shallow water, and can be seen from air at times.  

This is another great example of how the pubic makes important historic and archaeological discoveries that will help to save our history before it is lost.  Amateurs have made many important discoveries in the past and will continue to do so.  They are the eyes in the field, it is their history, and they provide the tax dollars that fund our state's efforts. 

Gary alerted me to the story of this wreck along with the following link.  Thanks Gary!,d.eWU

And here is another link.

Besides sending me the link, Gary also said, The guy that discovered it says it wasn’t there 3 months ago. Other stories say it wasn’t discovered before because of brown water coming down from Lake O. I have passed within in 50 feet of area many times taking short cut out of harbor (shallow water allows only at high tide). I read later the sinking was recorded that a pirate ship (Navy) seized and stripped another Pirate ship and sank it at present location. The name of the ship was identified. White plastic pipes have been stuck around the area to keep boats from causing damage.

Gary continues,   ...its been there 150 years. I was able to see wreckage on some Google aerial maps using the history tool to cover years past.  I can also see the ship on Bing maps. I have looked at maps before in search of wrecks, I SHOULD HAVE LOOKED IN MY BACKYARD FIRST Anyway it shows what a wreck looks like in birdseye view.

This is a wreck that can be visited and seen as well as searched and identified on internet maps.  As Gary and the news story points out, it has been marked with PVC markers. 

Notice that it is a protected site.

Gary gives a good hint when he talks about using internet map sites for looking for shipwrecks.  Also a reminder to not forget to check out your own back yard.  

There are several advantages to looking close to home, especially when other known areas are not producing.   You never know what might be right under your nose.

Two Ferrous Objects Freed From Encrustation.
You probably know something of what are often called EOs (encrusted objects).  A metal detector can detect them, but they look like stone and you will often have no idea of what, if anything, might be in the hardened clump.

I've talked about EOs some in the past.  EOs can be confusing to new detectorists.  The metal detector says there is metal, but it looks like stone.

The picture to the left shows two objects (bottom two) that were removed from hand-sized conglomerates that looked something like small cow pies.   If you are a city person you might not know what a cow pie is, but I'll leave it at that.

The third object (at top) is a conglomerate, but the object that it formed around is no longer present.

It can be difficult to free objects from clumps of conglomerate.   The first thing I recommend is using a metal detector to identify what type of metal might be inside.  That is not destructive, and that is one case when a discriminating detector will come in handy.

Encrusted objects usually contain iron, but they can also contain other objects - even coins.

You will often see signs of rust on the surface of the conglomerate even if the object has completely rusted away.

Notice the round hole in the top object in the picture.  That is where there was once an iron rod that is now completely gone.   Even when an iron object has completely dissolved, it will leave a hole the shape of the object.  That allows archaeologists to create a replica of the object by filling the vacancy with plaster or some other modeling material.

One way to find out what is in an EO is to X-ray the clump.  (You might recall the EO that William M. thought might be a hand guard from a sword.  He made an appointment with a museum to get it inspected.  No  news on that one yet.)   Of course most of us don't have access to X-ray or other types of imaging that will reveal the contents.

If you think that an EO might contain something historic or important, have it inspected by the proper people like William arranged to do.

Some people try to break open EOs to find out what is inside. That is difficult to do without damaging the object, and therefore I would discourage that.  Usually the object will be in fragile condition and break along with the crust.

Sometimes archaeologists carefully grind the crust away.

Recently I saw a man at the beach who had a lawn chair and was picking up EOs and then sitting down and using a hammer and chisel to open them.  I don't know why he was doing that, but he would move along, pick up one or more, sit down and chisel.  That is dangerous.  If there is something important inside the conglomerate, there is a good chance it will be broken in the process.

 A vice allows more carefully measured pressure and therefore works better than a hammer and a chisel when an EO is to be opened.

Archaeologists sometimes use a wet saw to open a conglomerate.  Then the inside of the conglomerate can be inspected, and a mould made to produce a replica of the original object.

On the Treasure Coast we had some heavy rain yesterday.  The low pressure area centered just off our coast now has a 60% chance of developing into a cyclone in the next 48 hours.  Nonetheless, our surf will remain relatively small (1 - 2 feet).

I would expect more rain but no real improvement in beach detecting conditions for at least a few days.  When the cyclone forms it will probably be well north of us.

Happy hunting,