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Old 16-05-14, 13:21   #1
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Arrow Right VIDEO-Columbus’ Ship-Santa Maria Has Been LOOTED

VIDEO-Columbus’ Ship 'Santa Maria' Has Been LOOTED:
Diver who Claims to Have Found 500-year-old Wreck says Ship must be Preserved Immediately

Daily Mail UK, 16 May 2014

  • Researchers 'confident' excavation will prove the ship's identity
  • Ship could be raised on put on display in Haiti Museum
  • Santa Maria was lost off after running aground on explorer's first voyage
  • Investigation being turned into History Channel documentary
  • Looters are believed to have stolen the ship's cannon from the wreck site
  • Explorer fears without immediate action, many more artifacts could be lost
An undersea explorer who claims to have found the wreck of Christopher Columbus' flag ship the Santa Maria believes that looters have stolen some artifacts from the wreck site - including a cannon.

Barry Clifford, from Massacheusetts said he believed he found the 500-year-old wreck off the coast of Haiti in 2003.

During his earlier dive, Mr Clifford photographed a large cannon which has since gone missing prompting fears that looters have scavenged the site.

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Barry Clifford believes this cannon, photographed in May 2003 belongs to the Santa Maria but was later stolen by looters

Barry Clifford, pictured, said all the evidence points to the wreck being the Santa Maria

Mr Clifford said the Santa Maria went down on Christmas Day in 1492 after striking a reef off the coast of Haiti

Speaking at a press conference at the Explorers Club in New York, Mr Clifford said the evidence 'strongly suggests' the wreck is that of the Santa Maria. He said he would now be seeking authorisation from the Haitian government to begin recovering artifacts from the wreck site.

The Santa Maria went down on Christmas Day in 1492 after striking a reef.
According to Mr Clifford: 'I think the evidence is overwhelming that the ship is most likely the Santa Maria.
Mr Clifford has already opened discussions with Haitian authorities and begun talks with the country's president Michel Martelly.

The Santa Maria was believed to have been sunk after striking a reef off the coast of Haiti on Christmas Day 1492

Mr Clifford said he discovered the wreck after studying Christopher Columbus' logs

Mr Clifford said that a cannon discovered at the scene in May 2003 was of the same design used at the time of Christopher Columbus' maiden voyage

The 68-year-old adventurer said the wreck is lying in 10-15 feet of water approximately five miles offshore.

Columbus, abandoned his ship after running into the reef and returned to Spain, leaving some of his men behind in a fortified camp called La Navidad. However, when he returned the following year, all of his men were dead.
Clifford said some ballast rocks lying at the site could be linked to a quarry near Columbus' home port in south western Spain.
Mr Clifford said immediate action was required to save what remains of the vessel.

'I think this is an emergency situation. I think the ship needs to be excavated as quick as possible and then conserved and then displayed to the world.'

'I hope to be able to work with the Haitian government and with all other countries including Spain in helping to preserve this irreplaceable resource.'

The Santa Maria's anchor is on display in Haiti having been salvaged from the ship before it went down

Roger C Smith, underwater archeologist for the state of Florida added: 'The evidence, as you can imagine, after more than 500 years is not going to be very much because of time and the environment that the site is in.'
Mr Clifford's exhibition is being funded by this History Channel

The 58foot ship was the flagship of the expectation, but its final whereabouts have never been known - until now.

Christopher Columbus on Santa Maria in 1492, in a paiting by Emanuel Leutze from 1855. Experts now believe they have discovered the wreck of the ship off the coast of Haiti.

The route of the first voyage - and the final resting place of the Santa Maria

Previous researcher has found the daring seafarers who went on Christopher Columbus’ second trip to the New World in 1493 had major obstacles to overcome in their journey.
Not only were they stepping into the unknown to find a home, but a new study suggests they may have also suffered from scurvy while sailing across the Atlantic.
The scurvy killed many of the early colonisers, researchers claim, causing the ultimate demise of the La Isabela settlement within just four years of it being founded.
This is according to historic documents and analysis of 27 skeletons buried at Columbus' settlement in what is now the Dominican Republic.
Researchers believe the colonisers beat most of the scurvy by the time they died, but the disease may have contributed to a wave of deaths in the early colony.
La Isabela, the first permanent European town in the Western Hemisphere, was abandoned within just four years of being established amid sickness and deprivation.
Bones of sailors and colonists from graves behind the abandoned village's small churchyard have been unearthed from the site since the 1980s.
La Isabela was established in what is now the Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. It was one of the first European settlements in America.
It was founded by Christopher Columbus during his second voyage in 1493 and named after Queen Isabella I of Castile.

Historic documents and analysis of 27 skeletons buried at Columbus' settlement
in what is now the Dominican Republic suggests the early colonisers suffered from severe scurvy

Hunger and disease is thought to have soon led to mutiny, punishment, disillusion, and more hunger and disease.
A group of settlers, led by Bernal de Pisa, attempted to capture and make off with several ships and go back to Spain.
La Isabela's demise took place in 1496 when Columbus decided to abandon it in favour of a new settlement, which is now known as Santo Domingo.
‘They were still encased in earth when we started the study. We had to clean the bones to proceed,’ study author Vera Tiesler told National Geographic.
Historians have blamed smallpox, influenza, and malaria for the town's failure, but the latest study by Mexico's Universidad Autonoma de Yucatán argues scurvy was the main cause.
At least 20 of the 27 skeletons had signs—ridges carved in the outer lining of bones—of what the study describes as 'severe scurvy.'
Scurvy, caused by one to three months of vitamin C deficiency, plagued seafarers until the 18th century. Symptoms included lethargy, anaemia, and, the re-opening of old wounds.
Researchers suggest the voyagers might have avoided scurvy if they'd sailed directly from Spain to La Isabela - a journey of two months or less.
When Columbus and his companions reached the Americas, they landed at a Hispaniola outpost first.
‘It was especially long, this trip - three months. And that's exactly the time scurvy needs to be in full bloom,’ Professor Tiesler said.

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