400-Year-Old Shipwreck ‘Discovery of Decade’ for Portugal

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Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters
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By Catarina Demony
CASCAIS, Portugal (Reuters) 

Archaeologists searching Portugal’s coast have found a 400-year-old shipwreck believed to have sunk near Lisbon after returning from India laden with spices, specialists said on Monday

“From a heritage perspective, this is the discovery of the decade,” project director Jorge Freire said. “In Portugal, this is the most important find of all time.”

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

In and around the shipwreck, 40 feet (12 metres) below the surface, divers found spices, nine bronze cannons engraved with the Portuguese coat of arms, Chinese ceramics and cowry shells, a type of currency used to trade slaves during the colonial era.

Found on Sept. 3 off the coast of Cascais, a resort town on the outskirts of Lisbon, the shipwreck and its objects were “very well-preserved,” said Freire.

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Freire and his team believe the ship was wrecked between 1575 and 1625, when Portugal’s spice trade with India was at its peak.

In 1994, Portuguese ship Our Lady of the Martyrs was discovered near Fort of Sao Juliao da Barra, a military defence complex near Cascais.

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

“For a long time, specialists have considered the mouth of the Tagus river a hotspot for shipwrecks,” said Minister of Culture Luis Mendes. “This discovery came to prove it.”

The wreck was found as part of a 10-year-old archaeological project backed by the municipal council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon.

 

(Reporting by Catarina Demony; Editing by Janet Lawrence)

 

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
Divers are seen during the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais in this handout photo released September 24, 2018. Augusto Salgado/Cascais City Hall/Handout via Reuters

 

People pass by the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
People pass by the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais, Portugal September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

 

People pass by the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
People pass by the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais, Portugal September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

 

People watch the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais
People watch the pictures during a news conference regarding the announcement of the discovery of a centuries-old shipwreck, in Cascais, Portugal September 24, 2018. REUTERS/Pedro Nunes

 

 

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