NationalGeographic reports of a 500-year-old shipwreck has been found off the coastof south-west Africa, laden with tons of copper ingots, elephant tusks, goldcoins, and cannons to fend off pirates.
The wreckand its treasure were recently discovered by geologists prospecting fordiamonds off the coast of Namibia.
NamdebDiamond Corp., which is a joint venture of the government of Namibia and DeBeers, first reported the April 1 find in a statement Wednesday and planned anews conference in the Namibian capital next week.
Judging fromthe notables depicted on the hoard of Spanish and Portuguese coins, and thetype of cannons and navigational equipment, the ship went down in the late1400s or early 1500s, around the time Vasco de Gama and Christopher Columbuswere plying the waters of the New World.
The companyhad originally cleared and drained a stretch of seabed in search for diamonds, andhad built an earthen wall to keep the water out so geologists could work.
Noli saidone of the geologists saw a few ingots but had no idea what they were. Then theteam found what looked like cannon barrels.
Thegeologists stopped searching for diamonds and sent photos to Noli, who had doneresearch in the Namibian desert and has advised De Beers on the archaeologicalimpact of its operations in the country.
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