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"Holy Grail of Shipwrecks": Centuries-old sailing ship on Florida beach



PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Florida – A 48-foot section of an old sailing ship washed ashore on a beach in Florida, exciting explorers studying it before it's recovered by the sea. The Florida Times-Union reports on the well preserved section of a wooden hull that was washed ashore on Tuesday over the northeastern coast of Florida.

Julie Turner and her 8-year-old son found the wreck on Ponte Vedra Beach Wednesday morning, reports CBS News affiliate WJAX-TV. At first, Turner thought it was a piece of a pier or fence, but then she realized that it was a centuries-old ship that had been washed ashore.

"We went and checked it and knew immediately that it was a historical artifact," she told WJAX-TV.

Researchers at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and the Maritime Museum have documented the artifact and say it dates back to the 1

8th century. Marc Anthony, owner of Spanish Main Antiques, told WJAX-TV that it's extremely rare for wrecks to be washed ashore.

"To actually see, survive, and come ashore, this is very, very rare, this is the holy grail of shipwrecks," said Anthony.

Museum historian Brendan Burke told the newspaper that evidence suggests that the ship was once made of copper and that the crew found Roman numerals on their wood ribs.

Researchers hastened to photograph and measure the wreckage. The photos are used to create a 3-D model.

WJAX-TV reports that it is up to the state to decide what to do with the rubble.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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