State: Mystery debris found on Florida beach could possibly be an old shipwreck

UPDATE: Officials believe the mystery items are that of a merchant ship dating back from the 1800s, state archaeologists visiting the site told FOX 35 News Tuesday.

Original story below:

After some mystery debris appeared along the beach in Daytona Beach Shores, we may soon learn what exactly it is. State archeologists are expected to visit the site on Tuesday morning.

A spokesperson for the Florida Department of State referred to it as a possible "shipwreck site," though whether the debris if from an old shipwreck has to be investigated and confirmed.

The debris was discovered a couple of weeks ago after part of the beach was washed away following Hurricane Nicole.


Mark Ard, director of external affairs for Florida Department of State, said the department's Division of Historic Resources, Bureau of Archeological Resources has been in contact with authorities in Daytona Beach Shores about the discovered debris. State archeologists are working with other archeologists to document the site, he said in an email.

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Photo credit: Volusia County

He said when the state learns of a potential discovery, it works to ensure the area around the discovery is protected, noting that removal artifacts from an archeological site without authorization is a third-degree felony.

He said state archeologists will "map" the site – recording the site during excavation, field notes, drawings and photographs – to document as much about the site's and debris' context.

Officials said where the artifacts are placed in relation to other artifacts and the environmental features of a site could provide clues to their function and method of manufacture or loss. With that information, archeologists will be able to learn more about past human behavior than the artifacts themselves.

When artifacts are moved, disrupted or destroyed, that context is "destroyed and cannot be recreated."