Old shoes, bottles and timbers wash ashore beaches at Chincoteague Refuge

shipwreck 1

In early August, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in Virginia held a training for their new wreck tagging program, which will document the artifacts that are found on the refuge. Credit: Gil Langley

Ever find a piece of debris on the beach and wonder what it is and where it came from?  Those  questions have come up many times at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge since the passage of Hurricane Sandy in late October 2012.  Timbers from old sailing ships, bottles and other historic artifacts washed ashore onto Assateague Island during and after the storm.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Commonwealth of Virginia and State of Maryland archaeologists, volunteers, students and researchers have been working diligently to collect and preserve these artifacts when practical.   Additionally, staff at the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge in cooperation with its federal, state and local partners have developed a unique “wreck tagging” program for old ship timbers.  Through this research we hope to better understand how these relics of our seafaring history move around in the coastal environment.  This information may help us to better protect and conserve our maritime history.

Learn more! Read a news article about the findings on Assateague Island


This is a piece of a historic wooden shipwreck that was found at the southern end of Assateague Island. The tag is fixed on the structure and will help to trace this item’s movement throughout Virginia and Maryland. Credit: USFWS

2 thoughts on “Old shoes, bottles and timbers wash ashore beaches at Chincoteague Refuge

  1. Rob

    Chincoteague/Assateague are a paradise.. but a warning.. I found a blue medicine bottle(May 2012) dating nearly 90 years in one of the interior Assateague marshes and gifted it in good faith to the center but several inquiries later and i’ve been told it is on someone’s desk and i noticed an identical bottle in the front window of the local pharmacy in Oct. of 2014.. I wish that I had kept it..

  2. Leslie Farah

    A tagged timber is on the beach in Duck, NC just south of the Army Corp of Engineers pier. Wondering if this code Va/Md FWS 0067 identifies the timber. I would be interested in any information you have on this timber.


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