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Great Lakes Today

Is new shipwreck discovery Lake Erie’s oldest?

Side Scan Sonar Image of Excavation Areas Outlined in Red of the target believed to the Lake Serpent
Side Scan Sonar Image of Excavation Areas Outlined in Red of the target believed to the Lake Serpent

Cleveland Underwater Explorers may have discovered Lake Erie’s oldest shipwreck, the Lake Serpent.

Elizabeth Miller reports.

The group first discovered the wreck back in 2015.  Over the years, they have narrowed hundreds of possible shipwrecks down to three based on size and possible location.

The group says the wreck is most likely the 47-foot, two-masted Lake Serpent.

Carrying stone from the Lake Erie islands and bound for Cleveland, the ship sank in 1829.  There were six people on board according to news reports from the time.

In order to determine if the wreck is the Lake Serpent, surveyors will look for a carved sea-serpent figurehead on the front of the ship.  The team will also attempt to measure the length and depth of the boat, and identify its cargo. 

A team of divers plans to survey and excavate the ship over 10 days in July. The estimated cost is $13,000.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes has created an online crowdfunding campaign and says it has also raised $6,000 from donations.

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