Two previously unknown shipwrecks have been found near a famous Spanish galleon loaded with around $17 billion worth of gold that was sunk by the British in 1708.
The San José was a 62-gun, three-masted galleon that was sunk by the British with 600 people aboard in 1708 in the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714) before being found in 2015 laden with gold and now-thought-of valuables. to be worth $17 billion.
Now, two other ships have been found nearby thanks to new high-tech equipment that also allowed Colombian naval authorities to take a closer look at the San José and locate impressive historical artifacts, including a gold ingot and the crews’ swords.
They also managed to film numerous gold coins scattered on the seabed.
The footage, obtained from the Colombian government, shows high-tech equipment being lowered to the bottom of the sea, where a cannon can be seen on the seabed. Other artifacts can be seen scattered on the sand, including several clay pots.
The footage shows the bow of one of the vessels, which appears to be remarkably well preserved despite marine life trying to take over.
The images show how the vessel appears to be standing on the seabed, not yet engulfed by the sand.
Close-up footage near one of the cannons shows handfuls of gold coins in the sand. Another photo shows a large number of what appear to be teacups scattered across the sand.
The images also show the wealth of artifacts under the sea, waiting to be investigated.
Colombian officials said the two new ships appear to be a colonial boat and a schooner that date to the same time, when Colombia declared its independence from Spain in 1810, just over 200 years ago.
An announcement of the double discovery was made by Colombian President Ivan Duque, who said the two vessels were found near the San José wreck, which was sunk in the port city of Cartagena de Indias, Colombia, in the 18th century by the British.
It has been called the holy grail of shipwrecks as it carried one of the largest amounts of valuables ever lost at sea, with new images of the ship now also showing close-up images of some of its vast treasures.
Duque said in a statement: “We have already found two more vessels: one that is from the colonial period and another that, from the point of view of preliminary analysis, corresponds to the republican period of our history”.
The president also said the Colombian Navy is investigating the possible location of about 12 other vessels in the area.
Duque explained that Colombia now has equipment that can “reach the depths and have the best images” while protecting “the integrity of the treasure” until it can be retrieved from the seabed.
Duque said, “In recent years, with these technologies we’ve been able to reach a level of precision never seen before.”
Duque also said the technology is being used to find sunken ships “where there was preliminary preliminary information about possible shipwrecks”.
The head of the Colombian Navy, Admiral Gabriel Perez, said that the new equipment also made it possible to verify that the area where the San José galleon is located was not interfered with by anyone before the discovery.
In a separate statement from the Colombian Armed Command, the Colombian Navy confirmed: “Under the guidelines of the Presidency of the Republic during the last two years, the Colombian Navy and the Maritime General Directorate, in a non-intrusive observation work carried out at the site where the Galeão San José, verified that it did not suffer intervention or alteration by human action.”
The Colombian Armed Command statement also said: “This work was validated by members of the Commission on Shipwrecked Antiquities and the Colombian Institute of Anthropology and History, ICANH, entities linked to the Ministry of Culture.
“This is how the Colombian Navy developed the planning, preparation and execution of the four observation campaigns in which high-tech equipment and computer tools were used to process information and verify the state of the wreck.
“During the observation campaigns, in another nearby area, two shipwrecks were identified that had not been reported and that add to the context of the historic heritage of the Colombian Caribbean”.
The maritime director general of the country, José Joaquín Amezquita, also said that among the wreckage of the San José, several historical artefacts were also discovered, as can be seen in some of the photographs, including intact crockery from the time with the insignia of the galleon and the cannon. , which were made in Seville and Cádiz in Spain in 1655.
Other artifacts discovered include coins called “macuquinas”, minted by hand at the time, an ingot of gold and the crew’s swords.
“We are talking about an important wealth that has a lot to tell us about our past,” said Amezquita.
This story was provided to Newsweek by Zenger News.