Crew digs up castaway camp from 1852 shipwreck

Crew digs up castaway camp from 1852 shipwreck »Play Video

NORTH BEND, Ore. - In 1852, some U.S. soldiers found themselves shipwrecked on the Oregon Coast - the first white settlement in what is now Coos County, Ore.

They had a lot of time on their hands waiting to be rescued.

"I think they were bored," said archeologist Mark Tveskov. "They found lots of fired off ammunition and alcohol bottles, so they basically had to sit out here, and it's a pretty windy desolate place for 4 months."

A team from Southern Oregon University is digging through the sand layer by layer, sifting the grains for artifacts.

So far, workers have found emnants of the ship and even a piece of China.

The site also holds evidence of the first interaction between the area's Native Americans and people of European ancestry.

"For the Native American's living here it was a pretty novel thing to have a ship run aground off the coast of their territories," said Agnes Castronuevo, an archeologist for the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua & Siuslaw Indians, "and it was really unusual to see white people basically land on their beaches."

The castaways eventually packed up their cargo and walked to their intended destination, Port Orford.