The largest fragment recovered from the ship may have come from its bow.
On July 9, while trawling the waters off Nova Scotia during a fish survey, the Canadian Coast Guard snagged something unexpected in its nets: a shipwreck. They found the wooden-frame vessel more than 900 feet down while dragging the Georges Bank area off the southwest coast during the annual survey, which is conducted by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. The crew pulled up six fragments, the largest a 20-foot-long, 2-ton section of the hull with riveted external copper sheathing (below).
The ship likely dates to the late 19th century, according to Nova Scotia Museum curator of archaeology Katie Cottreau-Robins, who is heading up the ship examination. As she told CBC News, her team has already dived into a database of maritime records to find a potential identity for it. One possibility is the Swedish-built Orion, constructed in 1877, which had to be towed to Halifax in 1905 after being caught in a bad storm. A year later, the vessel, renamed the Marion C, sank en route to New York in the region where the wreck was discovered.
Cottreau-Robins told mental_floss, "Three artifacts came up with the pieces: part of a leather shoe, a piece of bottle glass and a fragment of copper."
Archaeologists are still determining which part of the ship this fragment came from.
She said there are no plans to conduct an underwater archaeological survey of the site, but "we are researching other possible wrecks in the area."
The fragments are currently being stored at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography while the researchers figure out how best to preserve it. Unless they’re carefully maintained, water-logged organic artifacts can quickly dry out and suffer irreversible damage.
All images: Katie Cottreau-Robins/Nova Scotia Museum
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Editor's note: This post has been updated with additional images and input from Katie Cottreau-Robins.