Archaeology News: Shipwreck 'Tantalizing,' Link to Texas Revolution?
Marine archaeologists have discovered a 200-year-old ship along with 60 artifacts three-quarters of a mile below the Gulf of Mexico that may provide some insight into the Texas Revolution.
The ship was first spotted by Shell Oil Co. about a year ago, and two more shipwrecks have since been uncovered by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
"It was a great discovery," said Jack Iron, a marine archeologist with the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management Texas Historical Commission. "I was one of two chief scientists on board. The shipwreck was likely caused by a hurricane, but now we can hopefully figure out the origin, nationality and function of the ship."
According to the officials from Texas A&M University at Galveston and Texas State University that concluded the recovery Wednesday, the two-masted ship sank 200 years ago. Scientists added that the ship was likely a warship or a vessel transporting arms and soldiers and could have supported the Mexican army during the fight for Texas independence or possibly provided arms to the Texans.
The artifacts discovered, which date back to the early 1800s, include muskets, swords, cannons and clothing. A leather-bound book that survived the sinking was also among the items. Researchers said the guns were likely made by the British, but some of the debris is believed to be from Mexico and Spain.
"This site has such an amazing rate of preservation that these artifacts are in astoundingly wonderful condition and they truly provide a physical connection with our shared past," said principal investigator Fritz Hanselmann, of the Texas State University Meadows Center for Water and the Environment.
"Shipwrecks actually create life," Steve Gittings, a coordinator for NOAA's National Marine Sanctuary Program told KHOU.com. "They come back to life after whatever goes down with them goes down. So this ship has 200 years of life on it."