One of the most spectacular archeological discoveries in recent years has been the recovery of a ship in a southwest African desert that went missing five centuries ago and had gold coins on board.
The departure of a Portuguese warship from Lisbon took place on March 7, 1533. Its whereabouts remained unknown until 2008, when its bones were discovered while diamond mining along the coast of Namibia.
As it traveled towards India, a strong storm caused it to capsize, taking riches such as copper and gold ingots with it. On board the ship, two thousand pieces of pure gold and tens of thousands of pounds of copper ingots were recovered, practically all of which were found intact.
In addition to cash, the ship located in the desert held a large cargo.
According to Dr. Noli, senior archaeologist of the Southern Africa Institute of Maritime Archaeological Research, the discovery of a shipwreck is not surprising, considering storms have recently been known to lash the beach.
However, after only one week of digging, a treasure chest containing gold money was discovered, and the coins within revealed that it had originated from a Portuguese ship that had gone missing in 1533.
The ship is said to have sunk during a storm off the coast of Namibia when it was dragged too close to shore, forcing the hull to connect with a rock and tip over. It reappeared in the desert when the waters off the shore retreated.
With the exception of a few single bone pieces, the ship’s state upon finding indicates that the storm that caused the disaster was extraordinarily severe; yet, the lack of human remains indicates that the majority of the crew either drowned at sea or managed to escape the wreck.