400-year-old shipwreck found off Portugal

400-year-old shipwreck found off Portugal

Cascais wreck
Picture: Municipality of Cascais.

Archaeological divers have discovered a centuries-old shipwreck at a depth of 12m near the Portuguese resort town of Cascais.

At the wreck site the dive-team was reported to have found bronze cannon engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms; spices such as pepper; Chinese porcelain from the Wanli period of the Ming dynasty; and cowrie shells, which were used as currency in the African slave trade.

They believe that the ship is likely to have sunk between 1575 and 1625.

24 September 2018

The remains of the vessel, including intact sections of the hull, cover an area around 100m long and 50m wide.

The wreck was found at the start of September as part of a marine archaeological project organised by the municipality of Cascais, which lies west of the Portuguese capital Lisbon, in collaboration with Nova University of Lisbon and Portugal’s Naval School Research Centre.

The ship had probably sailed to Lisbon from India, said project science director Jorge Freire, who described the find as the “discovery of the decade” in terms of maritime archaeology.

Some artefacts have been brought up for analysis as divers continue to explore the site.

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