17th century shipwreck to be freeze-dried, rebuilt

Associated Press
This Aug. 8, 2012, shows Peter Fix, a conservator at the Texas A&M University Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation in Bryan, Texas, examining wood from a 17th-century shipwreck kept in a vat filled with ethylene glycol awaiting transfer to a freeze-dryer in Bryan, Texas.  Researchers at Texas A&M University will try to reconstruct the LaBelle with a gigantic freeze-dryer. (AP Photo/Michael Graczyk)

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The 17th-century French ship La Belle has spent months inside a 40-foot-long, 8-feet-wide freeze dryer being used to remove moisture from the wreckage of the ship. The ship was used famed explorer La Salle, and sank more than 300 years ago off the Texas coast. Researchers plan to rebuild the 54 ½-foot vessel, which will become the centerpiece of the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum in Austin, Texas.

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