Mysterious shipwrecks yielding their secrets


© Indiegogo/Tom Kowalczk Sonar image of what's believed to be Lake Serpent.

Experts are planning to investigate a mysterious Great Lakes shipwreck they say may be the oldest in Lake Erie in the US, and might be nearly 200 years old.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes wants to identify the shipwreck, which archaeologists believe is the Lake Serpent, a schooner that sank in 1829.

The shipwreck site was discovered by Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE) in 2015 and since then the possibilities of what shipwreck it is have been narrowed from over 200 to 3, explained the Museum, in a statement.

“To make a final identification we need to spend about 10 days underwater excavating the portions of the buried schooner to be sure!” Built in Cleveland in 1821, the Lake Serpent carried cargo for eight years until its sinking in late September or early October 1829, according to the Toledo, Ohio-based Museum.

“Identifying and surveying this shipwreck is important because once completed we will understand why the Lake Serpent sank in 1829 and the site can tell us about early 19th century shipbuilding techniques that were used in Cleveland.” An Indiegogo campaign has been launched to raise funds for an investigation of the wreck site.

The Great Lakes have several shipwreck secrets. In May 2008, for example, two explorers discovered the Ontario, lost in Lake Ontario in 1780, and the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes and the only British warship of the period still in existence.

Later that year, the explorers Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville discovered a rare 19th-century schooner sitting upright 130 metres under Lake Ontario.

In 2016, Kennard was part of a team of underwater explorers that discovered the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes, The Washington, an American-built, Canadian-owned sloop that sank in Lake Ontario during a fierce storm in 1803.

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