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Shipwreck in Ponte Vedra may be from 18th century

Beachgoers came across wooden hull

Beachgoers came across a shipwreck that washed ashore in Ponte Vedra Beach Thursday, which could date back to the 18th century.

SKY4 flew over the scene Wednesday near the Guana state preserve.

The wooden hull is about 47-and-a-half feet long and well-preserved. Roman numerals markings were on the wood.

Julia Turner said she was walking along the beach with her son when they came across the wreckage.

"We were going to look for conch shells and shark teeth, and we find a shipwreck," Turner said. "Pretty special."

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Marc Anthony, who owns a treasure shop in St. Augustine, also came to see it. "I was just blown away by the rarity, (that) it will be sitting on our beaches today."

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum archeologist Chuck Meide got word of the wreckage and brought a team of researchers to learn more. He said it's most likely a merchant ship, but could've come from anywhere.

"It's hard to know where it's from," Meide said. "One thing I can tell is that it would've been a pretty sizable ship."

Marc Anthony owns a treasure shop in St. Augustine, and said he couldn't believe what washed ashore.

"I was just blown away," Anthony said. "We are going to need to preserve this and get this into a museum if possible. I would hate to see history like this be taken away by the ocean again."

A deputy stood guard throughout the day to make sure the wreckage remained untouched. The wreckage can't be moved because it's property that belongs to the state of Florida, so researchers were documenting the hull before it is reclaimed by the sea. They are hoping to create a 3-D model from photos of the ship.

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Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.

Lifetime Jacksonville resident, journalist and experienced broadcast news producer with a passion for classic and exotic cars.