Archaeology & History
New York flotsam thought to be from 200-year-old shipwreck
By T.K. Randall
February 25, 2023 · 1 comment
The SS Savannah was the first steamship to cross the Atlantic. Image Credit: Hunter Wood
Debris found in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Ian is now thought to be a piece of the long-lost SS Savannah.
At a glance, the piece of four-meter-wide wreckage that was spotted off the coast of Fire Island, New York back in October could easily be mistaken for any random debris washed out to sea by the storm, but now maritime experts are claiming that this unassuming flotsam is in fact a piece of a ship that ran aground and sank all the way back in 1821.
The SS Savannah was a particularly noteworthy vessel because it was a hybrid sailing ship and sidewheel steamer which also happened to be the first steamship to cross the Atlantic Ocean.
Sadly, despite its success, the ship was lost when it broke apart off Long Island just 2 years later.
If this flotsam did indeed come from the Savannah, it will be a significant discovery indeed.
Evidence in the form of wooden pegs consistent with a vessel of the correct size, coupled with iron spikes used in shipbuilding at the time the Savannah was built, was found by analyzing the debris.
"It was pretty thrilling to find it," said Betsy DeMaria - a museum technician at the park service's Fire Island National Seashore.
"We definitely are going to have some subject matter experts take a look at it and help us get a better view of what we have here."
Source: The Guardian
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