When it was visible in 1958, locals speculated that it might be the remains of a “pink,” a term used to describe a small, square-rigged vessel with a flat bottom and a narrow stern.
But the wreck was again examined after a spring nor’easter uncovered it in 1980. Based on the type of construction, marine archaeologist Warren Riess hypothesized that the vessel is a sloop of about Revolutionary War age. The remains have been mapped and identified by the Maine Historic Preservation Commission as archaeological site ME 497-004.
…This past weekend’s storm also uncovered ancient tree stumps all over Gooch’s Beach. Similar roots and stumps hide under the sand at Wells Beach. Radiocarbon dating performed on those in 1959 by geologist Arthur M. Hussey indicates that about 3,000 years ago, the white pine trees were growing in a wooded upland. They were gradually drowned by the rising sea level.
During the Archaic period, Maine’s shoreline was much farther out to sea than it is today. From about 5,000 years ago to 3,600 years ago the rate of sea-level rise in this area was 5.5 inches per century. The rate of sea-level rise then slowed to 2 inches per century. The current rate of rise, as measured by the Portland tide gauge, is 7.5 inches per century — nearly four times faster than the rate over the last few thousand years.
…Soon the sand will reclaim these vestiges of the past and the usual views will be restored until the next perfect storm thrills onlookers with another peek.