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A unique discovery in the ocean: the wreck of a Spanish galleon hid a treasure of enormous value

Among the finds indicating that some treasures were intended for wealthy aristocrats or the royal family, for example, a gold necklace with the cross of Santiago and Bezoar, which was valued in Europe at that time for its medicinal properties. It has the shape of an oyster shell, which is a symbol that pilgrims will recognize Santiago de Compostela In the Spanish autonomous region of Galicia. Thus, the artifact belongs to the finds associated with the sacred order of Santiago. This religious military system protected the pilgrims and was an active component of Spain’s maritime trade.


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Another pendant representing a golden cross of Saint James of Santiago was found over a large green oval emerald surrounded by dozens of square emeralds, possibly symbolizing the Twelve Apostles.

Karl Allen, owner of Allen Exploration, the company behind the expedition, is thrilled with the discoveries. “When we pulled out the oval necklace with emerald and gold,” he said, “I took my breath away.” Watchman. “I speak more of the discoveries from everyday life than the connection of coins and jewels, but the treasures of Santiago bring both worlds together. The necklace fascinates me when I hold it in my hand and think of its history. How these little appendages survived in these harsh waters and how we were able to find them.” amazing”.

Finds end at the museum

Allen decided to search for the wreck, believing that the ship had not been completely destroyed. So he formed a team to find the lost stern, which he believed had broken off and carried away by the sea. Unlike his predecessors, who sold the artifacts they found, he also planned to subject the remains of the ship to scientific research.

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“The wreck of the Galleon had a difficult history. In the 17th and 18th centuries it was extensively “explored” by Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American expeditions, and from the 1970s to the early 1990s it was rescued in a jiffy by rescuers. Some say The remains of the ship wrecked,” explained Allen, a philanthropist with a passion for sunken history.

His team used the latest in science to determine how Maravillas were destroyed and then dispersed by hurricanes. “Using modern technology and scientific knowledge, we are now following a long and winding path of debris discoveries,” he explained.


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The ship sank on the western side of the Little Bank of Bahama, more than seventy kilometers from shore. However, the newly discovered treasures were found in a vast debris trail more than thirteen kilometers long.

According to the English marine archaeologist Sean Kingsley, such miraculous finds are especially special because they appeared under the thick sand in the middle of nowhere. “It’s a successful archaeological operation,” he told the Observer.

Allen Exploration, which employs Bahamian and American marine archaeologists and divers, has received a scientific exploration license from the Bahamian government and has committed to displaying the findings in a new museum in the Bahamas.

Treasures on a dying coral reef

The expedition also collects data on coral reef health, seabed geology and plastic pollution to understand how archeology and the marine environment interact. “The sea floor is barren,” Allen told the newspaper. Watchman He added, “The colorful coral reefs that divers remember from the 1970s are gone. Poisoned by ocean acidification and suffocated by meters of quicksand. It’s heartbreakingly sad. Still, sparkling discoveries lie on those dead gray cliffs.”

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From the ship itself, the team also discovered iron clips that held the hull together and iron rings and pins from rigging. Evidence of catering to the ship was also found, from olive containers to Chinese and Mexican dishes, and personal items, including the soldier’s silver sword handle and pearl ring.


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Since all shipwrecks in Bahamian waters are owned by the Bahamian government, the items found will end up in the newly created Bahamas Maritime Museum in the coastal city of Freeport. This museum is sponsored by Allen Exploration.

Sharks ate the crew

The Spanish ship Galleon Maravillas is named after a 13th-century statue of the Virgin Mary “The Miracle” in a convent in Madrid. It was bound for Spain from Havana, Cuba, with treasures from the Americas, which included royal and private cargo, but also contraband and rich cargo recovered from another Spanish ship that had wrecked off Ecuador.

However, around midnight on January 4, 1656, it sank due to a navigational error while emerging from the shallow waters. In a collision with the main ship of the fleet, it hit a reef and only 45 of the 650 people on board survived. Sharks were responsible for many human casualties.