R- Dominicaine - Oldest Known Shipwreck Found
Oldest Known Shipwreck Found Near Dominican Republic
DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Utah based Deep Blue Marine believes they located the oldest known shipwreck off the coast of the Dominican Republic.
Divers have uncovered gold coins, jade statues, and ancient Mayan jewelry.
The company still believes there are greater treasures.
President of Deep Blue Marine, Wilf Blum says, "This is the history and the birthplace of America and here we are lucky enough to finding the shipwrecks from that time era."
Just a few years after Christopher Columbus discovered the new world, the ship sank into the dark waters off the Dominican coast.
It lay undisturbed until now.
Captain William Rawson was the first to find the treasure’s trail. "We found some old fella in town that was selling a coin. I bought the coin from him and we looked in a book and found it was one of the oldest coins ever minted in the new world," he said.
Rawson used technology such as side scan sonar to search the area where the old local liked to dive.
Little by little he uncovered parts of the wreckage.
“This is pretty incredible when you think about it. This has been on the ocean floor for 450 years," Rawson said.
Divers found gold coins that date back to 1535.
One particular set of four coins is valued at a million dollars.
Deep Blue Marine gets to keep 50-percent of the recovered items.
The Dominican government gets the rest.
"We found these two mirrors made out of iron pyrite. And they've been lying on the ocean floor for 450 years, but you can still take and turn them and see your face in them," said Rawson.
President Blum says the Spanish ship likely sank during a hurricane.
"If it's the ship we believe it is, she went down in a very violent storm. And the evidence is pointing in that direction. We're finding spikes that were bent completely right around back on themselves," Blum said.
He says never has a shipwreck turned up artifacts so old.
"The only other fleet we know of that's older than this is the 1502 fleet and it's never been discovered," he continued.
Deep Blue Marine is currently salvaging thirteen shipwrecks.
The company built a museum in the Dominican Republic and plans to put some of the items from the most recent find on public display.
Others will go to auction to the highest bidder.