Nov. 1 (UPI) -- A North Carolina father and son hunting for treasure on their land made a startling a discovery -- a buried ship from more than 100 years ago.
Tim and Ross Fisher said drought conditions in early October left their land dry enough that they spotted pieces of wood and steel sticking up through the ground.
"I just sampled a spot right here because it was completely dried up," Tim Fisher told WTVD-TV. "There was no water running and I hit some wood seven feet down and knew stamp mills weren't built quite like that."
Fisher said he and his son bought the 14 acres of land about six years ago so they could search for treasure on the former gold mine site.
"This whole area was part of the Portis Gold Mine," he said. "A very big gold mine and a lot of historic things happened here. A lot of people don't know about the gold mines in eastern North Carolina."
"People would say, 'you're crazy buying that land,'" Fisher said. "I guess in the end it wasn't such a bad thing."
The ship discovered by the duo is believed to be the Robinson Gold Dredge, which was built in New York in the early 1900s and shipped to North Carolina in pieces for use in gold dredging.
"This vessel, what books say. It's 94 feet long, 32 feet wide and the hull is 7 feet deep," Fisher said. "So, you can walk the hull. It is taller than you are, so you can walk around the lower end of it. It's all wood. It's a rare thing to find a wooden hull dredge in all our documents we are reading. It's very rare."
Fisher said he is working with the Army Corps of Engineers on plans to preserve the vessel and remove it from the ground without damaging the local environment.
The Fishers are chronicling their experience with the unusual find on their Facebook page.
"It's still got the red paint on it," Fisher said.