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A Shipwreck Discovered in Lake Erie May Be 200 Years Old

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lake serpent erie shipwreck

The National Museum of the Great Lakes has recently announced the discovery of a shipwreck off Kelleys Island in the western end of Lake Erie. The staff first learned about the find in 2015 and has since narrowed down the possibilities to three ships, with the 200-year-old shipping schooner, Lake Serpent, being the most likely answer.

The size, design, and location of the vessel all indicate that the wreck in question is indeed the long-lost schooner. However, in order to confirm this theory divers will first need to get a closer look at the wreckage. They want to move away the sediment that surrounds the bow of the ship to see if it is embellished with a carving of a serpent’s head - a prominent feature of the Lake Serpent. The divers also plan to take measurements, examine how the ship was constructed and look for any artifacts that could help with the identification process.

The excavation is set for mid- to late July. The project is expected to take 10 days, at a cost of about $13,000. The museum is currently raising money and has already raised almost half their goal. You can contribute to the online fundraiser here.

The exact location of the wreck is a closely guarded secret. The researchers want to preserve the site and keep curiosity seekers or untrained would-be archaeologists from disturbing it.

About Lake Serpent

The schooner was built in 1821 in Cleveland at a time when the city had less than 1,000 residents. Its job was to carry cargo - produce, flour, whiskey, limestone - to ports along the lakes.

It went down eight years later with a load of stone and a small crew near Kelleys Island off the Ohio shoreline.

The body of one crew member was spotted in the lake days later while the bodies of the captain and his brother washed up on the shore of Lorain County in the fall of 1829, according to a newspaper report.

The ship had an unusual carving of a serpent’s head in the bow.

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