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Feb-19-2008 13:13printcomments

Ancient Cannons Discovered Near Arch Cape on Oregon Coast

This level of discovery is extremely uncommon. Officials are asking people to people stay clear of the cannons for now but photos are fine.

Not much remains of the newly discovered cannons at Arch Cape in Oregon.  State history officials say it is a huge find.
Not much remains of the newly discovered cannons at Arch Cape in Oregon. State history officials say it is a huge find.
Photo: Oregon Parks and Recreation

(CANNON BEACH, Ore.) - Visitors to the Oregon coast near Arch Cape south of Cannon Beach in Clatsop County, discovered a pair of cannon buried in the beach sand. Natural erosion revealed the artifacts over the weekend.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department manages recreation on the ocean shore, and is responsible for state archaeological sites.

The agency's Chris Havel says, "It's tremendously exciting to see Oregon's past pay us a visit. The Oregon coast was set aside for its citizens in the early part of the 20th century for just this reason ... to ensure we can all enjoy and learn from the Oregon landscape."

Havel says it is important for people to visit the shore and see the artifacts, but in a way that protects your safety and preserves the integrity of the artifacts.

Preserving the cannons' integrity

Archaeologists say this could very well be an important historic site. Moving, touching, or taking parts of the cannon instantly destroys historical information that could help them understand where the cannons are from and what they mean to Oregon history.

They are asking people who go near the site to take photos and record video, but to please not touch the historic artifacts or any others in the vicinity.

Havel suggests that if you see someone trying to touch or move the cannon, politely ask them to help protect the cannon by keeping hands off. "Historians and archaeologists are quickly devising a plan to protect these important artifacts, and to study the broader area. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will distribute more information about how people can be involved in the plan as soon as possible."

Questions over what ship this is and when it went up on the beach in Oregon remain unanswered, Havel said. It is just too early.

"We don't know anything. There is speculation about what ship it was or what era it was from."

He says there is plenty of speculation too. People from the coast quickly move to the theory of this being the wreck of the vessel that one Oregon coast city is named for.

"What I love is wondering if is it from the U.S.S. Shark, an 1846 shipwreck that gave Cannon Beach its name."

How big if a deal is this for the state of Oregon?

"A very big deal," Havel said. "When archaeologist groups drop what they are doing and head to the coast like this, you can see it is extremely important."

He finished by saying that, "At the very least it is the coolest thing that has happened to us in years."

This level of discovery is extremely uncommon. Havel hopes that people stay clear of the cannons until state officials have a plan to remove them. They will eventually be made available for public display.




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