Remains of a 19th-century ship were discovered in Louisiana’s capital as widespread drought creates record-low water levels in the Mississippi River.
According to the local news station WBRZ, Baton Rouge resident Patrick Ford discovered the trading ship during one of his daily searches of the Mississippi riverfront for artifacts.
“I was out here looking this past Sunday and realized the rest of the shore had washed away, and there was an entire ship there,” Ford told WBRZ. “I immediately texted friends and was like, ‘Holy moly, I think I found a ship, a sunken ship!’”
Ford contacted the local news and experts about the wreck after discovering the ship’s remains. Chip McGimsey, a state archaeologist in Louisiana, was contacted by Ford.
McGimsey confirmed that Ford’s discoveries were from the Brookhill shipwreck, which archaeologists were aware of.
The Brookhill ship was built for trade in Indiana in 1896, according to McGimsey. After a large storm, the ship with another vessel, the Istrouma, sank in 1915.
The Brookhill’s remains were somewhat exposed in 1990, when an archaeology firm did some surveying on the ship’s wreckage. But lower water levels have revealed more of the ship’s remains, allowing researchers build on limited research.
“For the most part, there are not good documents on boat building, especially when you get back into the area of wooden boats,” McGimsey said.
“They have a lot of individuality in these boats, and there are so few of them remaining,” McGimsey added. This is a very rare example from around 1900.”
Following his discovery, Ford sent a message of encouragement to other explorers who are as curious as him.
“Explore your surroundings – get to know where you live, what’s around beyond just what’s in front of you,” he said. “Take a walk, see what’s out there.” — The Guardian