Archaeologists are beginning to reassemble the remains of a French ship recovered more than 300 years after it was lost in a storm off the Texas coast.
The February 1686 wreck of the 54-foot-long La Belle in Matagorda Bay played the key role in an ill-fated but historically significant expedition led by famed explorer Rene-Robert Cavelier Sieur de La Salle.
Historians point to La Salle's colony near Victoria as the reason Spain decided to boost its presence in what became Texas. That move, and the colony's failure, led to today's Hispanic heritage in the state.
Beginning Saturday, visitors to the Texas State Museum in Austin will be able to watch the ship being put back together in a unique setting that allows them to interact with archaeologists.