A 10-metre section of a shipwreck, possibly from the 19th century, has washed up on the North Shore of Prince Edward Island.

A portion of a ship's timber hull washed up on a beach near Cavendish last week. Jean Ronahan, who lives in nearby French River, suspects it may have broken loose following erosion near a breakwater in Cavendish.

"It's part of the Island history," Ronahan told CBC News Monday.

"Right along our whole coastline here there was a lot of shipwrecks; there was the Marco Polo and there was another from the Yankee Gale. It's just part of our marine history."

Officials from the Green Park Shipbuilding Museum have inspected the artifact. David Keenlyside, executive director of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, has also looked at the wreck, and is excited by the find.

Keenlyside, an expert in Atlantic archeology, agrees the wreck could have gone down in the Yankee Gale, which was in 1851, but says further investigations are necessary.

The wreck has wooden-peg construction and other evidence of being put together with hand tools.

Ronahan wants the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation to preserve the artifact. She and her husband anchored the section, which they estimate weighs 700 kilograms, over the weekend out of fear it might wash back out to sea again. She is also concerned curious onlookers might start dismantling it piece by piece.

Copyright 2007 CBC