They Were Looking For It For Over 200 Years, And It Just Washed Up On The…


An unknown ship whose skeletal remains have haunted a beach in York, Maine for more than 60 years may have been identified as a Colonial-era schooner.

Ever since it first emerged in 1958, the 50-foot skeleton of a shipwreck has intrigued both locals and experts alike. It reappeared in 1978, 2007, 2013, and 2018 after powerful storms swept away the sand burying it. But then the wreck disappeared again, frustrating those who desired to know more about the ship’s history.

Now, the decades-long mystery has been somewhat solved after marine archaeologist Stefan Claesson discovered evidence that links the shipwreck to a Colonial-era ship called the Defiance that was built in 1754.

To identify the origin of the shipwreck, Stefan  Claesson, who is also the owner of Nearview, an aerial drone and archaeological surveying company, sent pieces of the wreck to the Cornell University Tree-Ring Laboratory.

“Following the 2018 storm exposure, there remained questions about the age and origin of the shipwreck,” mapping scientist Claesson, said. “The sample timbers matched a New England tree-index indicating a felling date of approximately 1753.”

He added, “Shipwrecks like this can also be thought of as living organisms, or environmental warehouses that store and can reveal information about regional climate variations through the study of tree rings. In this initial study, we now have tree-ring data for multiple species from the early 1600s to the 1700s.”

This was what Claesson had to say about the ship once he did some digging into its history:

“Historical research revealed an account documenting a sloop called Defiance that wrecked at the York Beach location in 1769,” Claesson wrote in the email. “The account details that a sloop Defiance was sailing out of Salem, MA bound for Portland, ME.”

He added, “The sloop and 4-man crew encountered a fierce storm, they took anchor, but in heavy seas, the crew was forced to cut the anchor cables, and they have pushed ashore onto York Beach. The ship was carrying a cargo of flour, pork, and English goods. The ship was a total loss, but the crew survived. Research also identified a sloop of the same name that was coincidentally built in 1754 in Massachusetts, which fits well with our tree-ring dates of circa 1753. However, additional historical research and archaeological investigations are needed to confirm the identification of the wreck as Defiance. It is assumed that the timbers were used to build the vessel shortly after felling.”

Initially, the archaeologist thought a ship called the Industry was a possible match, but he later realized it had sunk in a different location than the wreck. The Defiance, meanwhile, “fit every description,” as Claesson said.

Claesson believes the remains could provide clues to how ships of that era were built and hope to have them protected. He is searching for additional artifacts and photographs to rebuild the ship’s story.

Watch the video below for more details:

Sources: AWM, DailyMail

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