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Find three wrecks for the price of one

As marine archaeologists were examining a well-preserved shipwreck deep in the Gulf of Mexico they also found two other sunken vessels that likely went down with it during an early 19th century storm.
Oxidized copper hull sheathing and possible draft marks are visible on the bow of a wrecked ship in the Gulf of Mexico about 170 miles from Galveston, Texas
The Meadows Center - Texas State University  |  Monterrey Wreck (Site 15577)    |   08-22-2013
The two-masted ship may be 200-years-old. Archaeologists have been able to recover some items like ceramics and bottles, including liquor bottles and an octant. Other items spotted among the wreckage are muskets, swords, cannons and clothing
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We went out with a lot of questions and we returned with even more. The big question we’re all asking is: What is the shipwreck? And the answer is we still don’t know

—Lead investigator Fritz Hanselmann, Texas State University

The shipwreck appears to be an untouched, early 19th century, wooden-hulled, copper-clad vessel containing artillery and firearms.

The vessel’s length is 84 feet and the most prominent feature of the site is the remains of the ship’s hull covered with copper sheathing, which indicates a relative date of late 18th to early 19th century. The rake of the vessel at the stem and the stern suggest that it is potentially a clipper or shares attributes with this vessel type. While the hull might be the most prominent feature, the assemblage of material culture found on the shipwreck is extremely impressive and lends to the need for sampling and further study.

Little is known about the other ships, including the flag or flags they sailed under and the year they sank about 170 miles southeast of Galveston.

Although they weren't allowed to retrieve artifacts from the two new sites under the terms of their agreement to examine the initial one, the researchers took thousands of photos and closely examined the wreckage of all three ships, which came to rest within five miles of one another.

Two of the ships were carrying similar items, and researchers believe they may have been privateers, or armed ships that governments would hire, said Fritz Hanselmann from Texas State University in San Marcos' Meadows Center for Water and the Environment. The third vessel was loaded with hides and large bricks of tallow, suggesting that it may have been a prize seized by the privateers.

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