The investigation began after pieces of wreckage from 1883 were discovered at a local beach

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An archaeological investigation is underway in southern Bruce County after remains of wrecks – identified as belonging to the 19th century schooner Homer H. Hines – were found washed up on Point Clark Beach.

Marine archaeologist Scarlett Januses and marine historian Patrick Folkes volunteer their time to document the pieces. So far, they have made preliminary records of the wood remains, the majority of which were discovered along the shores of Lake Huron this spring.

Januses said she has appealed for more volunteers from the Ontario Marine Heritage Committee to help with the investigation.

“There are a number of things we still need to do. We have to go back and make detailed drawings of each of the pieces that were washed up on the shore. Hope we can do a snorkeling / scuba diving study offshore, between shore and rocky reefs. And I’m also asking for help with a side scan sonar to find the main wreckage, which would be off the other side of the reef, ”she said in an interview.

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Januses, who received the marine archeology license for the investigation, said she was working with Huron-Kinloss and the province to find a place to bring the pieces of wreckage and bury them once the documentation process is complete. .

The interment will help preserve the remains so that archaeologists can return, if necessary, to unearth the pieces to gather more information.

“If we just leave the parts out, they will dry out, they will warp, and ultimately they will not be recognizable,” she says.

“Conservation would cost an arm and a leg, so that’s the best alternative.”

Januses said local residents had spotted pieces of the wreckage on the beach for the past five years.

But, this spring, a significant number ran aground, including a large room with many iron ties that was part of the sunken ship’s fin box.

Januses and Folkes visited the beach to begin fieldwork on May 13.

Huron-Kinloss was informed of the find and said in a press release late last week that the Ontario Marine Heritage Committee and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry were investigating for more information on the wreck.

Although the beach has not been closed, the municipality has posted signs informing people of the archaeological investigation in progress and asking that the pieces not be moved or damaged.

“There are safety concerns in this area as there are pieces of metal protruding from the wreckage, please do not touch or climb on them,” the statement said.

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“We appreciate your patience as we work with our partners to determine the way forward.”

Folkes conducted the research to determine the origin of the remains. Little is known about Homer H. Hine, Januses said.

The 105 foot barge / schooner was built in 1871 and had three masts. It was destroyed in 1883 and was a total loss. No casualties were reported.

The storm’s action would have slammed the underwater wreck against the rocky reef off Point Clark and shattered, while storm surges would have caused the pieces to end up on shore this spring.

Januses said the purpose of the investigation was to record as much information as possible about the shipwreck pieces and then bury them for safekeeping.

“In 1871, when it was built, there weren’t a lot of great plans and there are details missing from the plans available,” she says. “So we try to fill in the information that is not already there, easily, already.”

Januses said the daggerboard box is particularly interesting as it is rare to see how these parts of a 19th century ship were constructed.

“Sometimes when you’re dealing with wrecks underwater you only have a very narrow field of view, which limits what you can do. So when you see a piece that has been washed up on shore, it gives you a better opportunity to appreciate the piece and get more detail than if you are doing something underwater, ”she said. declared.

Januses said she hopes the investigation will be completed in about a month.

But it depends on the number of volunteers who respond to the call for help and the direction of the wind, which affects the underwater visibility.

IMG-7139 A piece of a shipwreck, identified as the 1871 schooner Homer H. Hine, which was found stranded on Point Clark beach in Huron-Kinloss this spring.  SUPPLIED
IMG-7139 A piece of a shipwreck, identified as the 1871 schooner Homer H. Hine, which was found stranded on Point Clark beach in Huron-Kinloss this spring. SUPPLIED

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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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