Archaeologists find 238-yr-old Spanish shipwreck in Chile

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Santiago (Chile), May 20 : A private archaeological excavation firm has discovered the remains of a 238-year-old shipwrecked Spanish galleon on the coast near the Chilean town of Curepto, located in Chile's Region VII.

According to a report in The Santiago Times, the Spanish galleon, named "Our Lady of the Good Council and San Leopoldo" was discovered by Oriflama S.A, a private archaeological excavation firm.

The Oriflama S.A's scientific team found the ship through the use of magnetomentry, a methodology using a machine that detects materials with magnetic properties, like iron.

Most archaeologists expected to find the remains of the ship deep on the ocean floor.

But fragments of the 41-meter x 11-meter ship were discovered embedded in the sand under fairly shallow waters near where the Huenchullami River flows into the ocean.

According to the company Web site, a graphic explanation provides information as to how the ship went down.

It suggests that the crew was so malnourished and sick that they could not even raise all of the ship's sails. They were caught in a terrible storm and could not be rescued, condemning the galleon and its crew.

The once ornate vessel, built by the French in the mid 1700s and, loaded with 56 canons, was used by their military until the ship fell into Spanish hands. The Spaniards then revamped the ship into a merchant vessel and set it sailing to "New Spain."

After several trips to the new world, the ship sank after five months at sea when it was nearing the end of a journey from Puerto de Cadiz, Spain, to El Callao, Peru.

The ship was carrying precious glassware from the Spanish royal family to be sold to Peru's Spanish royalty. The glassware, along with garments decorated with gold, gold money, fancy furniture and over 50 canons, today have an estimated value of 30 million US dollars.

ANI

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