Mysterious shipwreck discovered in Great Lakes believed to be nearly 200 years old

Experts are planning to investigate a mysterious Great Lakes shipwreck that they say may be the oldest in Lake Erie and might be nearly 200 years old.

The National Museum of the Great Lakes wants to identify the shipwreck, which archaeologists believe is the Lake Serpent, a schooner that sank in 1829.

The shipwreck site was discovered by Cleveland Underwater Explorers (CLUE) in 2015. “Since then we have narrowed the possibilities from over 200 shipwrecks to 3,” explained the Museum, in a statement released Monday. “To make a final identification we need to spend about 10 days underwater excavating the portions of the buried schooner to be sure!”


Built in Cleveland in 1821, the Lake Serpent carried cargo for 8 years until its sinking in late September or early October 1829, according to the Toledo, Ohio-based Museum. “Identifying and surveying this shipwreck is important because once completed we will understand why the Lake Serpent sank in 1829 and the site can tell us about early 19th century shipbuilding techniques that were used in Cleveland,” it explained.

An Indiegogo campaign has been launched to raise funds for an investigation of the wreck site.

The Great Lakes continue to reveal their shipwreck secrets. In May 2008, for example, two explorers discovered the British warship HMS Ontario, which was lost in Lake Ontario in 1780. The Ontario is the oldest shipwreck ever found in the Great Lakes and the only British warship of this period still in existence in the world.


Later that year, the explorers - Jim Kennard and Dan Scoville, also discovered a rare 19th-century schooner sitting upright 500 feet under the waves of Lake Ontario.

In 2016, Kennard was also part of a team of underwater explorers that discovered the second-oldest confirmed shipwreck in the Great Lakes. The Washington, an American-built, Canadian-owned sloop sank in Lake Ontario during a fierce storm in 1803.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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