Raised From The Deep

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Wednesday, June 29, 2011 - 1:24pm

Researchers hope cannon pulled from sea will offer clues about shipwreck.

Archaeologists from the St. Augustine Lighthouse raised a cannon from a shipwreck off the coast Tuesday.

They hope the cannon will give them some clue to help identify the wreckage.

The St. Augustine Lighthouse Archaeological Maritime Program (LAMP) brought a ship's bell to the surface earlier this year, but it did not have the name of the ship engraved on it as archaeologists had hoped.

The workers and onlookers cheered as the cannon cracked the surface for the first time in centuries.

"As you can imagine, everyone's pretty excited," explained Chuck Meide, LAMP director. "We've been building up to this for the past month. We weren't sure if we were going to be able to do this lift because the gun could've been stuck to the bottom."

Divers used a lift to pull the cannons to the surface and quickly wrapped them in wet towels to keep them moist.

LAMP officials estimate it will take two years before the cannons can be dried out for display.

Archeologists are hopeful that the guns will provide valuable information about the ship itself.

The wreck was discovered in summer 2009, but LAMP still does not know the name of the vessel or why it sank.

"We have a pretty good feeling that we will get some diagnostic information from this gun. Very likely we'll have information related to the foundry where this gun was manufactured. We may have a year, so we could have some pretty specific information about the origins of this gun, which could help us of course, determine the origins of this ship," said Meide.

Divers believe the ship sank sometime between 1776 and 1825.
 

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