Researchers find 'arsenal' on sunken ship

Oct. 30, 2008 at 12:55 PM

COLLEGE STATION, Texas, Oct. 30 (UPI) -- A Texas A&M University researcher says a veritable "arsenal" has been found on a ship that sank in the Gulf of Mexico between 1808 and 1820.

Texas A&M nautical archaeologist Ben Ford said in a recently released research report that while the so-called Mardi Gras Wreck was found in 2002 off the coast of Louisiana, cannons and other weapons weren't found on board until last summer, the Houston Chronicle said.

Ford said using remotely operated vehicles, researchers were able to videotape portions of the underwater wreck and found evidence the ship likely had been used for questionable activities.

"It's a fairly large arsenal," Ford told the Chronicle of the weapons cache found on the vessel. "They were either out for mischief or they were concerned about coming to some harm."

Archaeologist Jack Irion told the Chronicle gaining a better understanding of the vessel could lead to enhanced knowledge of the gulf's history.

"We believe this shipwreck tells an important story about the role of the Gulf of Mexico during this period," Irion said.

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