There’s something protruding through the sand at Daytona Beach Shores in Volusia County, Fla., and it’s got local residents and officials buzzing with curiosity.
The unknown object was recently discovered by beachgoers and Volusia County Beach Safety, county officials said in a series of statements by email.
They said the object was visible in part because of beach erosion caused by Hurricane Nicole, which ripped through Florida last month, and by Hurricane Ian, which hit the state in September and was one of the most powerful storms to strike the United States in the past decade. Continued high tides and rough surf also played a role in the object’s discovery, just south of Daytona Beach.
The object appears to be made of wood and metal and to be about 80 feet long, officials said. It could not be roped off because water submerges it during high tide.
“The state underwater archaeological team has been notified to investigate further,” said Kevin Captain, a spokesman for the Volusia County government.
Theories about the object have circulated on social media and on local news websites. The guesses include that it is a barrier, a shipwreck, a portion of an old pier, or spectator seating from when NASCAR had races on the beach.
“It is a mystery,” said Tamra Malphurs, a spokeswoman for Volusia County Beach Safety. “Many people think it is an old ship of some sort.”
State archaeologists will examine the object, which consists of long rows of wood pieces jutting up from the sand, at low tide on Monday, Ms. Malphurs said. “There could be some kind of metal there,” she said. “We are not positive.”
It was undetectable — submerged in high tide — on Friday, she added.
While it is unclear what the object may be, Florida’s coasts and shorelines have turned up surprises old and new in recent years, unearthed by the sweep of shifting sands from storms, erosion and tides.
In 2020, a couple walking along Crescent Beach noticed some wooden timbers and bolts protruding from the sand. Maritime archaeologists believe it was relic of the Caroline Eddy, a 19th-century ship.
In 2021, a high school student recovered a rare 1715 Fleet gold coin south of Turtle Trail Beach, off Florida’s east coast. In October, a man dug up a diamond ring worth about $40,000 on a beach in St. Augustine.
“Every now and then, something pops up, and usually you can tell what it is,” Ms. Malphurs said. “This one, you just can’t confirm.”