The remains of a ship recently washed ashore on a beach in northern Florida. The wreck is believed to be hundreds of years old and is surely a dream for historians.

IFL Science reports:

A Mysterious Centuries-Old Shipwreck Just Washed Up On A North Florida Beach

A mother and son in Saint Augustine, Florida, experienced a much more exciting day at the beach than anticipated when they discovered remnants of an old wooden ship washed up on the sand.

During an early morning lounge session on the deck of a Ponte Vedra beach rental house on Wednesday, March 28, Julie and Patrick Turner spotted a sizable chunk of wooden debris. According to local news outlet Florida Times-Union, Julie Turner quickly notified local authorities after her son excitedly declared that the odd sighting was actually part of an old ship.

As requested by state park officers, archaeologists from the Lighthouse and Maritime Museum – who have investigated many shipwrecks along the Florida coast – arrived on the scene to take photos and measurements before the 14.6-meter-long (48-foot-long) remains could be washed back out to sea…

Taken together, the preliminary evidence suggests that the remains are from a large sailing vessel dating back to the late 1700s to 1800s.

“It’s really amazing to see somebody’s writing that been buried in the ocean for well more than a century,” Burke told the Florida Times-Union.

Here’s a video report from CBS News. My favorite detail is the Roman numerals carved into the hull:

Here’s more from CBS:

“Holy grail of shipwrecks”: Centuries-old sailing ship found on Florida beach

Researchers with the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum have been documenting the artifact and say it could date back as far as the 1700s. Marc Anthony, who owns Spanish Main Antiques, told WJAX-TV it’s extremely rare for wreckage to wash ashore.

“To actually see this survive and come ashore. This is very, very rare. This is the holy grail of shipwrecks,” Anthony said.

Museum historian Brendan Burke told the newspaper that evidence suggests the vessel was once sheeted in copper, and that crews found Roman numerals carved on its wooden ribs.

Researchers rushed to photograph and measure the wreckage. The photos will be used to create a 3-D model.

It will be fascinating to learn more about this artifact as experts unravel the mystery.

Featured image via YouTube.