Researchers believe that they have identified the wreck of Christopher Columbus' flagship the Santa Maria
The flagship of the 3 sailing vessels Christopher Columbus took on his journey to the Americas has been located according to experts. The Santa Maria ran aground during the voyage across the seas over 520 years ago in the same location as the material found on the ocean floor according to the survey team.
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The area around Haiti was surveyed in 2003, and in-turn came up with inconclusive evidence on what the material actually was at the time -- but further tests have indicated that the material, canon, and wood date to the same era as when Columbus would have landed in the Americas.
In a report by the Independent; the team is described as using marine magnetometers, side-scan sonar equipment and divers, Mr. Clifford’s team has, over several years, investigated more than 400 seabed anomalies off the north coast of Haiti and has narrowed the search for the Santa Maria down to the tiny area where the wreck, which the team thinks may well be Columbus’ lost vessel, has been found.
“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” said the leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site, one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, Barry Clifford.
The Hatian government has been helping the team in recovery efforts to eventually raise the ship. The archeology expedition believes that even though some of the material was stolen by bandits after the initial 2003 discovery -- that the core of the ship remains intact and can be raised to the surface.
“The Haitian government has been extremely helpful – and we now need to continue working with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” he said.
“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America.”
“Ideally, if excavations go well and depending on the state of preservation of any buried timber, it may ultimately be possible to lift any surviving remains of the vessel, fully conserve them and then put them on permanent public exhibition in a museum in Haiti.
“I believe that, treated in this way, the wreck has the potential to play a major role in helping to further develop Haiti’s tourism industry in the future,” he said.
The investigation into the wreck is being supported by the American TV network, the History channel, which has secured the exclusive rights to produce a major television program on the subject.