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Treasure not found? An expedition set off for the Spanish ship that sank in 1656, and unexpected treasures were found

The galleon Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Miracles) sank in 1656 in a wave cemetery 70 kilometers from the reef in the northern part of the archipelago. Over the past 350 years, gold transported on board has attracted treasure hunters to the area, so when another expedition began recently to find the wreck, many believed that such an object would be found.

At the same time, in a debris field more than 13 kilometers long, fascinating finds – pendants studded with precious stones and gold chains decorated with flowers – were found by specialists of the company Allen Exploration in charge of excavating the wreck, with the help of archaeologists and divers from the US Navy. and the Bahamas.

According to assumptions, the detailing of the treasures suggests that they were intended for wealthy nobles or perhaps members of the royal family. In addition, several gems – emeralds and amethysts mined in Colombia – were not included in the ship’s cargo list, which could serve as evidence that they were smuggled.

The artifacts will be on display at the Bahamas Maritime Museum, which opens in Freeport on August 8.

Nuestra Senora de las Maravillas, named after the “working of miracles” statue of the Virgin Mary in a monastery in Madrid in the 13th century, was part of a larger fleet that sailed from Havana to Spain with treasures from the Americas. The ship sank at dawn on January 4, 1656, collided with the main ship as a result of a navigational error, and then ran aground in shallow water. Of the 650 people on board, only 45 survived the disaster, and many of them became prey to sharks.

Cover photo: A world map made 1655-88 depicting North America, including California, as an island. Photo: Johann Blau/Royal Geographical Society via Getty Images/Getty Images

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