ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. - During a recent construction project, Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) crews unearthed a nearly intact shipwreck on State Road A1A near the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. Archeologists believe the vessel dates to the mid-to-late 1800s.
Prior to the start of construction, FDOT contracted with the archeology firm SEARCH, Inc. due to the historic nature of the area where construction was to be conducted.
"With every project we undertake, the Florida Department of Transportation is sensitive to the unique needs of the communities we serve, including the potential presence of historical sites and artifacts within construction sites," said FDOT District 2 Secretary Greg Evans.
Evans said the vessel may have sunk unexpectedly and, over time, was silted in and preserved so well. "It was encapsulated in soil and mud, so there was no air contact for it to decay. It’s truly an incredible find," Evans continued.
Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) crews unearthed a nearly intact shipwreck on State Road A1A near the Bridge of Lions in St. Augustine. [Credit: FDOT]
"We believe the vessel to be a small single-masted, shallow-draft sailing craft of the 19th century that was likely used to extract fish and shellfish from coastal waterways and directly offshore," said SEARCH Senior Vice President Dr. James Delgado, who led the excavation and recovery.
FDOT’s Cultural Resources component of the Environmental Management Office will continue to oversee the work related to the vessel. FDOT officials said it will ultimately look to preserve the vessel.