Mysterious Shipwreck Discovered Off North Carolina Coast May Be Centuries-Old

A mysterious shipwreck that may predate the American Civil War has been discovered off the Atlantic coast of North Carolina.

A team of marine scientists working with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) were astonished to find a centuries-old shipwreck with all its cargo lying over 100 miles off the North Carolina Coast during an expedition on July 12. The mysterious shipwreck may date back to the American Revolutionary War.

According to the Christian Science Monitor, the team, composed of Duke University, North Carolina State University, and University of Oregon marine scientists, were aboard a WHOI research ship in the area with the purpose of exploring the marine “ecology of deep-sea methane seeps” in the area when they stumbled upon the mysterious shipwreck.

A statement on Duke University’s website says the team’s sonar devices noticed “a dark line and a diffuse, dark area.” The team first thought it was a “scientific mooring” they had previously lost in an earlier expedition. Instead, they came upon the underwater mysterious shipwreck.

“This is an exciting find,” the team’s leader and Duke University’s Marine Laboratory director Cyndy Van Dover stated. “Even with major advances in our ability to access and explore the ocean, the deep sea holds its secrets close.”

Van Dover said she had led a number of expeditions near the area over the past few years, and was surprised to discover the mysterious shipwreck just days ago.

“It’s ironic to think we were exploring within 100 meters of the wreck site without an inkling it was there.”

The remains aboard the wrecked ship, including an iron chain, bricks, glass bottles, and navigational instruments “indicate it might date to the American Revolution” or the 19th century, according to Duke University.

The Associated Press says the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)’s Maritime Heritage Program will handle the next steps in the mysterious shipwreck discovery. The Program plans on visiting the mysterious shipwreck to identify and determine the ship’s country of origin and the time in which it was in service.

The location of this mysterious shipwreck, 150 miles off the North Carolina coast, places it along the Gulf Stream, a major Atlantic Ocean current that helped accelerate naval trade along the North American coast for centuries.

Despite the mysterious shipwreck discovery, the marine scientists have not yet found the mooring they originally set out to retrieve.

“We discovered a shipwreck but, ironically, the lost mooring was never found,” Cyndy Van Dover said.

Many other mysterious shipwrecks are probably still lying off the coasts of the United States, but the problems faced when working in the ocean’s depths have prevented those mysterious shipwrecks from being found.

[Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]