Shipwrecks, Legends, and Lost Treasures — Historical Archaeology on the Oregon Coast

Shipwrecks, Legends, and Lost Treasures — Historical Archaeology on the Oregon Coast

Scott Williams, Cultural Resources Program Manager at Washington State Department of Transportation, presents the final installment of our 2013 Archaeology Lecture Series.

The Oregon coast is rich with stories about shipwrecks said to have taken place prior to the 19th century. Tales abound of Chinese junks, Spanish galleons, English pirates, and caves full of silver and swords. Scott Williams has led a team of volunteer archaeologists, historians, and other specialists in a study of these stories. He discusses their investigations, the challenges of conducting underwater archaeology on the Oregon coast, and how historical shipwrecks are protected in the state.


  1. Catherine Derry on November 25, 2022 at 8:26 am

    Good video, I really enjoyed the information that you put out. Audio could have been better, but still very worth the watch!!

  2. BlankUberEverybody on November 25, 2022 at 8:28 am

    My grandmother had a piece of beeswax she found on the beach in Nehalem like about 1910

  3. SHANE SWEENEY on November 25, 2022 at 8:29 am

    At 42:10, you mention how currents could have drifted the wreck northward. Any of the local surfers will tell you how all the local beach currents drift south an extremely quick rate. Especially in winter. There are no northward currents whatsoever.
    Also- Many of us still find artifacts to this day. Ship beams, etc.
    Most people are too zombified or too busy looking at their iphones to know what is right in front of them.

  4. John Lord on November 25, 2022 at 8:38 am

    Most people forget that the Chinese were allowed to fish the West Coast. They fished from the Washington coast all the way down to Santa Monica. Just saw 1930s photos from Santa Monica and there were Chinese fishing junks. So it is a wonder WHEN the Chinese were allowed to fish here, … just as much as the West Coast forts (especially my Columbia River Bar with Fort Canby, Fort Columbia, Fort Stevenson were part of post-Civil War forts, and decommissioned in the post-WW II era.

    So findings of Chinese junks, shipwrecks, or beeswax can only come from these Chinese fishing fleet. And that the same 1811 mention of the Chinese junk shipwreck and massive beeswax flotsam.

    And the Chinese findings of the Pacific and Indian Ocean barge junk naval fleets, and mentions of the eastern lands, all before Columbus, support that the Chinese, any Chinese colonial sites, portages, shipwrecks would be found here.

    There is also strong connections that the Pacific Chinooks are actually Chinese, and these could be those coastal Amerindians before, during, and after the validated 1600s Cascadia oceanic fault line, that slipped causing the Pacific coast tsunami wiping out the coastal indians, but also the same Jan 21, 1700 Kamakura, Japan city tsunami.

  5. Sy. Niemeier on November 25, 2022 at 8:38 am

    My brother WAS living at Manaznita? Missed spelled? WE would go to Seaside for our vist.

  6. Phillip Jacobson on November 25, 2022 at 8:39 am

    Why be famous?
    Keep your mouth shut remelt the gold or silver and become a miner. Millionaire.

  7. Phillip Jacobson on November 25, 2022 at 8:40 am

    Does bee’s wax float some what below surface.

  8. CJ on November 25, 2022 at 8:41 am

    That’s Bull shit that the university would get it. Take the gold to fund more excursions. Liberal logic will only create pirates.

  9. Sy. Niemeier on November 25, 2022 at 8:41 am

    When I was a child, my family would go to Seaside every month, because of my older brother. Long story, but I remember there was a sign, that stated..10ft ft giants crashed on the shores around Cannon Beach. As I got older I moved down to Astoria. I asked the Hwy Department Hwy they took the sign down. They told me there NEVER WAS! I know FOR a fact there was as I saw it every month for a year. I always thought, the government NEVER wanted anyone to know. Why?

  10. Phillip Jacobson on November 25, 2022 at 8:46 am

    They were looking for eldorado
    Inca Maya Aztec gold

  11. Ayatrollah Ali on November 25, 2022 at 8:46 am

    This is cool. Worth a watch for sure.

  12. Terrapin Rocks on November 25, 2022 at 8:47 am

    There’s a site in Northern California at Lava Beds National Monument. It’s called Symbol Bridge. There was a pictograph recorded there which depicted what’s easily interpreted as a 16th century Catholic priest speaking with a native person. It was mentioned in a 1957 letter to the Smithsonian, I believe. Unfortunately the original art on a cave wall has long eroded away. I have long suspected this to be connected to the Nehalem wreck.

  13. Debra Dudek on November 25, 2022 at 9:04 am

    I loved this presentation! So amazing! I would love to see an update!

  14. Jared Simpson on November 25, 2022 at 9:10 am

    If u ever find anything ancient or amazing in oregon….keep it hidden or the Smithsonian will get it. box up your items tell you your done here.

  15. 441rider on November 25, 2022 at 9:11 am

    I think the Spanairds made it up the Fraser to Hope BC at some point. Relics have been reported to be found in that area. Great info here, they were searching for Eldorado all over the coast.

  16. Phillip Jacobson on November 25, 2022 at 9:20 am

    The Chinese have written documents showing they sailed to the west coast on many trips.
    And Australia your off base a bought junk wrecks. Graham Hancock says

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