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Ship expert, students gather information on Cape Girardeau shipwreck

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CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) -

Last month we told you about a shipwreck revealed due to low water, now those who discovered it continue to dive into clues to unlock the Mississippi River Mystery.

So far it looks to be a barge, possibly from the 1920s or '30s that likely went down due to some kind of accident. However, there's still lots of research to do and permits to collect. They've still only been able to investigate what's on the surface.

On Tuesday, local shipwreck expert Randy Barnhouse and the children of Prodigy Leadership Academy worked together to gather information about the wreck.

Russell Grammer who runs the school and his wife Amy, actually discovered the ship on the banks of the river weeks ago.

"Some of us here, this is our first time getting to explore something like this," said Lydia Taylor, a student. "It's like treasure hunting."

"We found pottery that could have been from the ship," said Briana Coppieters, another student.

"We can go back to our school and from the things we learn here we can see if there were any boats that sunk on the river or what it might have looked like," said student Yienvi Johnson.

Tuesday afternoon students measured, explored, and even took out metal detectors, careful not to disturb the wreck as they wait for paperwork from the state. Once permits are in, they hope to do a real archeological dig.

"The important thing now is we are still learning even as we wait for that," said Barnhouse. Barnhouse says local archeologist, James Phillips is working with them.

The students have lots of ideas about what the ship looked like and how it probably went down in the river long ago.

"I think it maybe looked like a big barge except the front was more curved," said Kennedy Davis.

"People who were on the ship, maybe there was a bad storm and they got carried off," said Coppieters.

"It's fun to think about the possibilities," said Matthew Holman.

"It's a fun way to learn because most people wouldn't find a boat out on the river like this," said Amy Russell. "It's part of science and history and we want to know what happened."

Barnhouse says there are still numerous possibilities, but believes a barge is a good theory. He says he's anxious to get permission to dig before the Mississippi rises, and they lose this good chance.

"We still don't know what's inside," said Barnhouse.

As for Russell Grammer of Prodigy Leadership Academy, he's excited to see students engaged and learning. Tuesday some of the kids discussed turning the project into a book. Grammer says no matter what, they are in it for the long run. They are excited to see where this mystery leads.

"We are in it for the long haul. It's neat for them to see the process. We want to give the students an experience that ignites something inside them and gets them energized," said Grammer.

Related story:

Drought surfaces ship near Cape Girardeau

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