USF archaeologists to 3D map Florida shipwreck

Shipwreck washed up on Ponte Vedra Beach
Posted at 1:18 PM, Apr 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-09 18:30:57-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- "It drew hundreds of people,” said USF’s Dr. Lori Collins.

The shipwreck is centuries old each plank marked with roman numerals.

"Think of it like a giant jigsaw puzzle. You could almost take it apart and use the numbers to put it back together,” said Collins.

But as soon as it washed ashore on Ponte Vedra Beach near Jacksonville, the clock started ticking.

"We can do things very quickly with the type of instruments that we have,” explained Collins.  

USF's Dr. Lori Collins and her team have been called in by state archaeologists to 3D scan the wooden schooner that may have sunk in the 1800s.

Now that it's exposed to air the 48 foot wreck could disappear as mysteriously as it was revealed.

"If something happens to this, the tide takes it out which is what is happening before something can be done or if someone comes in and loots the site, vandalizes it, we have it digitally preserved,” she said.

"You're right on the beach. You're right near where they found the shipwreck.”

USF libraries isn't just for books anymore.

"These kinds of things are being archived, preserved, and presented through the library and so at USF, we have an entire 3D initiative out of the library,” said Collins.

Students and Researchers can now navigate 3D records of finds like these.

"We were mapping out exact locations of all the endpoints with the timbers,” said Collins.

And they never have to set foot on the beach.

"We're looking at things like tool marks that are made,” she said.