A mysterious wooden structure uncovered on a beach in Florida’s Volusia County by erosion caused by Hurricanes Nicole and Ian could date to the 19th century, archaeologists announced Tuesday.
The structure, which is about 80 feet long and appears as pieces of wood jutting out of the sand, was first spotted by beachgoers during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Volusia County spokesperson Kevin Captain told CBS News.
When archaeologists visited the site, they surmised that the structure is most likely a cargo ship dating back to the 1800s that sunk in a storm, according to WFTV-TV, an Orlando ABC affiliate. Determining the exact age and provenance of the wood could take months.
While wood is visible jutting up from the beach, there could also be corroded metal within the structure, buried under five feet of sand.
“There could be some kind of metal there. We are not positive,” Volusia County Beach Safety spokesperson Tamra Malphurs told the New York Times.
Ms. Malphurs added that, while many uncovered beach finds are readily identifiable, the identity of the structure remains unclear.
“Every now and then, something pops up, and usually you can tell what it is. This one, you just can’t confirm,” Ms. Malphurs told the Times.
Whatever the origin of the structure, it has been submerged in the sand for decades.
“We have never seen it exposed before in that area, so this is the first time in at least 25 years that I know of it being exposed,” Ms. Malphurs told WESH-TV, an Orlando NBC affiliate.