Centuries-Old Shipwreck Washes Up on GTM Research Reserve Beach

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CONTACT: Patrician Price, 904.823.4506, patrician.d.price@FloridaDEP.gov

Centuries-Old Shipwreck Washes Up
on GTM Research Reserve Beach

~Its appearance has sparked interest among archaeologists and the public~

Photo courtesy of University of South Florida

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. - What is believed to be a centuries-old ship's hull recently washed up on the Guana Tolomato Matanzas Research Reserve beach.

Eventually, researchers will move the shipwreck into a high tide area of the beach so that the hull does not further deteriorate. In the interim, the Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program, the Florida Public Archaeology Network and archaeologists from the University of South Florida are using the opportunity for research.

The shipwreck has captured the interest of local residents and reserve visitors as well. Since Thursday, an estimated 1,000 people per day have visited the shipwreck. The research reserve welcomes visitors, but encourages them to take extra caution along State Road A1A.

"We are excited about this discovery and the opportunity to welcome these enthusiastic visitors,” said Joe Burgess, resource management coordinator at the GTM Research Reserve. “Due to the increase in traffic, we want to remind residents to utilize designated parking areas to ensure visitors and our environment are protected.”

Free public parking is available on reserve property in the lot north and immediately adjacent to the Exxon station on A1A. In addition, parking is available at the Middle Beach Access Parking Lot for a fee of $3 per vehicle. 

GTM also reminds visitors that the shipwreck is protected as an archaeological site. While viewing and taking photos are encouraged, touching the shipwreck or removing artifacts from the site are prohibited.    

For more information, call 904-823-4500.