Arthur Smith

Mysterious shipwreck unearthed at bottom Gulf

The stamp on a large cannon recovered from the shipwreck shows it was made in 1797 by the Clyde Ironworks in Scotland. 
Photo Texas A&M University

By John Pope - Nola

Nearly 200 years ago, a ship sank in the Gulf of Mexico, about 35 miles off Louisiana's coast. It stayed, undiscovered, on the seabed, about 4,000 feet below the surface, until 2002, when a crew happened upon the wreckage while checking out a pipeline.

An expedition led by Texas A&M University found no skeletal remains and nothing to indicate the vessel's name, where it came from or how it sank.

But underwater sleuths discovered plenty of artifacts, including a telescope, pottery, French bottles, swords, English mustard jars, hourglasses, a cast-iron stove and a Scottish cannon, Louisiana State Museum spokesman Arthur Smith said.

About 500 of those pieces are to be transferred today to the Louisiana State Museum and the state Division of Archaeology.

Archaeologists will study the pieces, Smith said, and eventually the museum will display them.

In addition to receiving the artifacts, the state will assume the responsibility of solving this mystery of the deep.

"It's a tantalizing mystery," Smith said. "Who knows who was on that ship and what they were up to ?"