A group of US archaeologists may have uncovered a section of hull and coral-covered chests that privateer Henry Morgan lost during his 1671 raid of Panama.
The team from Texas State University is led by underwater archaeologist Frederick Hanselmann. He led last year’s discovery of cannons at the mouth of the Chagres River that may also have belonged to five ships Morgan is believed to have lost.
The team have been working slowly to uncover the wreckage of the ship that has been buried in the sand.
“When we get to an archaeological site, like a shipwreck that has a lot of sand cover, we’re only able to open a little bit with each dive. The little bit on each dive is like a little minor discovery and there’s a little bit of excitement because you never know what you may uncover,” explained Bert Ho, project survey archaeologist from Texas State University.
The archaeologists say their findings include a 52-foot-by-22-foot (16-metre-by-7-metre) starboard side of a wooden ship, unopened cargo boxes and chests encrusted in coral that were buried deep beneath a think layer of sand and mud.
Panama’s Caribbean has long drawn treasure hunters and much of Morgan’s lost bounty has likely been plundered. Hanselmann is leading efforts to conserve the remaining traces of Morgan’s famous pillage of Panama.
Hanselmann says further research will be carried out in order to positively identify this as one of Captain Morgan’s lost ships.
This discovery expedition, carried out in July 2011, was made possible through a grant from the Captain Morgan Rum brand after initial funding fell through.
Additionally, volunteer time and resources were donated from the National Park Service’s Submerged Resources Center and NOAA/UNC-Wilmington’s Aquarius Reef Base.