Shipwreck laden with treasures found off Namibian coast


Windhoek (Nambia) : Geologists prospecting for diamonds off the Namibian coast discovered a shipwreck laden with gold coins, cannons and elephant tusks on the seabed, reports said Friday.

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The remains of the ship were first found April 1 when geologists, who had cleared a stretch of seabed at the site and drained it, came across with some copper canon barrels and ingots, according to the reports.

“The site yielded a wealth of objects including six bronze cannons, several tonnes of copper, more than 50 elephant tusks, pewter tableware, navigational instruments, weapons and thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins, minted in the late 1400s and early 1500s,” Hilifa Mbako, spokesman of Namdeb, a joint venture between South African diamond giant De Beers and the Namibian government, told a Namibian newspaper.

Currently experts are researching the finds and hope to establish exactly to whom the wreck could be traced, according to the reports.

There is speculation it may be linked to Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Diaz. In 1488, Diaz was the first European to get round the Cape of Good Hope on the tip of Africa in his efforts to establish a sea route from the Atlantic to Asia.

He discovered the bay of Angra Pequena and erected a cross at what is known as the Namibian coastal town of Luderitz, south of which Namibia harvests its diamonds both on and offshore. Diaz went missing in 1500.

According to Namdeb, both the Portuguese and Spanish governments have been alerted to the find of the shipwreck, which is thought to be the oldest ever discovered in Sub-Saharan Africa.