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Sail-World.com : Have they really found Christopher Columbus's 'ship'?
Have they really found Christopher Columbus's 'ship'?

'Christopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492'    .

Have they really found the Santa Maria, as widely reported in the mainstream press this week? Santa Maria, or La Capitana, as Christopher Columbus actually called her, was only about the size of many a modern cruising yacht - around 17m or 58ft, but not a lot is really known about her, except that she had a flat deck and three masts, and her descriptions are full of 'probables'.

Columbus's other two 'ships' were even smaller, the Niña and the Pinta, and it is not known where they ended up either. One thing is certain though. Columbus identified the spot where she sank, and it IS somewhere near Haiti. If it's true, it could be a major archeological event.

However, this wreck isn't even newly discovered. It was found in 2003 and discarded as a possibility to be Santa Maria.

Barry Clifford, a veteran of wreck-searching, has taken 'a fresh look at the photos' and the site and has made the announcement that he is convinced it is the right ship.

Photographic evidence of a cannon found on the ship and stolen after the discovery is one of the strongest pieces of evidence for Clifford, as he claims that it matches one that would have been on board. Why this was denied (misdiagnosed, according to Clifford) by archeologists at the time of the discovery is not known.

'I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus' discovery of America,' Clifford told The Independent. He hopes the wreck will be at least partially recoverable so it could go on exhibit in Haiti.

Clifford's explorations are aided by technology. Besides underwater photography, his team uses sonar equipment and marine magnetometers (to detect submerged metal) to scour the ocean bottom in search of historically important shipwrecks.

Whether you think this is an exciting discovery or simply the wishful thinking of a frustrated wreck-seeker, time will tell.


by Des Ryan


  

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9:07 PM Fri 16 May 2014GMT


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