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Rare Discovery: Fast Facts About the Lady Washington Shipwreck Found on Lake Ontario

Aug 20, 2016 06:24 AM EDT
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This week, explorers have discovered the remains of a rare ship on Lake Ontario. Here are some interesting facts about the ship named Lady Washington.

It's Rare and Extremely Ancient

The sloop dates back in the 18th century. It is believed to have been built in the Erie County in 1797 and is considered to be one of the first commercial sailing vessels in the Great Lakes.

Tagged as the Lady Washington, the ship measures 53 feet long and is the second intact oldest vessel found after the discovery of a British naval vessel a few years back, the explorers write on their website.

Explorers financed by the National Museum of Great Lakes said that Lady Washington sank while carrying cargo from Kingston to Niagra. The ship was originally used to transport settlers and merchandise around the eastern part of Lake Erie. However, in November 1801, it was sold to Queenstown merchants and was moved to Lake Ontario. The ship sank two years later.

Shipwreck May Reveal Clues on Early Shipbuilding

The team of retirees who became shipwreck explorers, consisting of Jim Kennard, Roger Pawlowski and Roland Stevens, stumbled upon the shipwreck while conducting a survey using a Deepvision side scan sonar. However, because of the water's condition, the team had to wait for three weeks to get better imaging of the shipwreck using a remote operated vehicle (ROV).

“The discovery of the Lady Washington pushes the boundary back for Great Lakes commercial shipwreck history. Breaking the 18th century barrier is not only psychologically important, but the wreck may reveal the earliest shipbuilding techniques on the Great Lakes ever examined," Christopher Gillcrist, executive director at the National Museum of the Great Lakes, told Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Breakthrough Discovery Offers Glimpse of Early Life

Meanwhile, Carrie Snowden, archeological director of the museum told the Wall Street Journal that this breakthrough discovery opens doors for a better understanding of what was life like during the older times on the Great Lakes.

Currently, there are no plans to get the ship from Lake Ontario and further study of the Lady Washington's wreckage will be passed on to archeologists.

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