A Shipwreck Was Unearthed in the Seaport

It was buried under a bunch of dirt.

Photo via City Archaeology Lab

Photo via City Archaeology Lab

In weird news this week, an 1800s-era shipwreck was spotted during the construction of a new office complex in the Seaport District. Perhaps the weirdest part of this weird news is that the shipwreck was not discovered in the Seaport’s blue waters, but under a bunch of dirt.

The boat remains were unearthed last week, and archaeologists were called in to inspect the find on Tuesday. City archaeologist Joe Bagley and other experts have been hurriedly working to document the ship, as building company Skanska plans to resume construction after Friday.

“This is the first shipwreck that I know of in Boston discovered in filled land,” Bagley told WBZ.

He explained that based on the state of the ship’s nails, the vessel dates back to the 19th century. The area where the bottom of the boat currently sits was filled in with land in 1880.

So how did it end up there?

“At this point we’re not quite sure, because it’s definitely in an area that was mud flats at low tide, so the ship may have run aground or crashed here during a storm,” Bagley continued.

He suspects the 50-foot-long vessel was traveling from Maine to Boston transporting lime, as several barrels of lime were found in the ship.

Photo via City Archaeology Lab

Photo via City Archaeology Lab

The wreck is indeed a rare find, even if it isn’t the whole boat. The intact lime barrels add to its extraordinarily uncommon state.

Bagley has publicly thanked Skanska for recognizing the importance of the wreck and voluntarily ceasing work on the building at 121 Seaport Boulevard to allow for documentation.

As archaeologists work to expose the entire boat, findings will be analyzed later in the archaeology lab in West Roxbury. Before leaving the site, they’ll take a 3D digital recording of the ship.

Bagley has been dutifully updating the public about the status of the wreck on Facebook and Twitter, and through the hashtag #SeaportShipwreck.