A cache of gold treasures and jewels has been discovered in the shipwreck of the 17th-century Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) in the Bahamas.
According to Business Insider, the discovered cache of treasures includes a gold and emerald pendant, a gold and emerald pendant, in-tact pottery, a pearl ring, a 5-foot, 9-inch long gold chain, solid silver bars, and a silver sword hilt of the soldier Don Martin de Aranda y Gusmán.
The lost treasures were discovered strewn across an 8-mile stretch of the ocean floor by Allen Explorations.
The discovered lost treasures will be put on display at the new and highly anticipated Bahamas Maritime Museum. Carl Allen, explorer, philanthropist, entrepreneur, and founder of Allen Explorations created the museum in conjunction with the Government of the Bahamas.
Allen stated in a press release sent to Insider, “When we brought up the oval emerald and gold pendant, my breath caught in my throat. How these tiny pendants survived in these harsh waters, and how we managed to find them, is the miracle of the Maravillas.”
Allen continued the statement by speaking of the “tough history” of the shipwreck, stating it had been “heavily salvaged by Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Bahamian and American expeditions in the 17th and 18th centuries, and blitzed by salvors from the 1970s to early 1990s. Some say the remains were ground to dust.”
Allen further added, “The sea bottom is barren [and] the colorful coral that divers remembered from the 70s is gone, poisoned by ocean acidification and choked by meters of shifting sand. It’s painfully sad. Still lying on those dead grey reefs, though, are sparkling finds.”
Project marine archaeologist James Sinclair also commented, “The ship may have been obliterated by past salvage and hurricanes. But we’re convinced there are more stories out there,”
According to the Bahamas Maritime Museum, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was a 17th-century two-deck Spanish galleon that sank off the Little Bahama Bank on January 4, 1656, after a navigational error. The ship was on a voyage from the Americas to Spain carrying treasures, both as royal tax and private property. Only 45 people survived, of the estimated 650 on board.
The shipwreck was quickly discovered and for centuries people tried to locate the missing lost treasures. The remains were rediscovered and parts salvaged in 1972 by explorer Robert Marx. Herbert Humphreys salvaged further remains between 1986 and the early 90s.
Dr. Michael Pateman, Director of The Bahamas Maritime Museum, stated in the press release, “For a nation built from the ocean, it’s astonishing how little is understood about The Bahamas’ maritime links.”
“Few know that the Indigenous Lucayan peoples, for instance, settled here 1,300 years ago. Or that the whole population, up to 50,000 people was forced out by Spanish guns, made to dive for pearls off Venezuela, and killed off in less than three decades. There was dazzling Old World culture in The Bahamas,” he added. “The Lucayans, slave trade, pirates, and the Maravillas are core stories we’re sharing in the museum.”
The new Bahamas Maritime Museum will open and become publicly available on August 8.