Archeologists recovering artifacts from shipwreck discovered off Galveston

July 23, 2013 4:28:50 PM PDT
Research teams are pulling priceless artifacts from the Gulf of Mexico -- a historic find that has been hidden under gulf waters for possibly more than 200 years.

A group of offshore workers recently stumbled across that sunken ship many miles into the gulf. Was it a pirate ship or a war vessel are among the questions scientist are trying to answer.

Dated artifacts recovered from a mysterious ship -- remnants of a sunken vessel recently found about 4,300 feet underwater, roughly150 miles off the Galveston coast

Dr. Steve Gittings with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said, "That's the big clue -- what's the name of it? Where did it come from? What was it doing when it sank? How did it sink? What was it carrying?"

Dr. Gittings is among the marine scientists inspecting the mystery ship.

He said, "The ship is mostly deteriorated, the wood portion of the ship. It sank 200 years ago it looks like, from the cargo onboard."

Archaeologists and biologists have set up a command center at Texas A&M University at Galveston. They are watching live feeds and talking directly with an offshore team that has already located artifacts such as guns, cannons, clothing, books and ceramics.

Tom Oertling with Texas A&M University at Galveston said, "We're seeing things that we haven't seen in a lot of other shipwrecks."

The scientists say a group of Shell employees working an offshore project stumbled across the sunken ship and reported it.

Deep sea biologists say they're looking to the unique critters calling this old ship home, to help tell the vessel's story.

Dr. Gilbert Rowe with Texas A&M University at Galveston explained, "Here in this sunken ship, we see all this plethora of life -- big anemones, glass sponges, lots of little crabs and fish."

The scientists compare the investigation of this mystery ship to putting together the pieces of a complicated puzzle. After collecting the artifacts, they plan to pull what's left of the ship to the port of Galveston Thursday morning.

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