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Miners find 500-year-old shipwreck filled with gold in desert

10 Junio 2016

A group of geologists from the mining company De Beers, first discovered the Bom Jesus, or Good Jesus, in April 2008 in the Namibian coast near Oranjemund.

It was found by the miners as they drained a man-made salt water lake along the Skeleton Coast, and while plenty of shipwrecks have been discovered along the stretch, this was the oldest and the first to be loaded down with coin and ivory tusks.

"So what the chaps do is push up a huge sea-wall with bulldozers parallel to the beach, with the ends running back to the beach".

The ship was apparently concealed under the ocean floor, helping it remain undetected for centuries.

The miners first found odd pieces of wood and metal on the beach, and then later discovered the shipwreck buried under the sand.

"While it is of course the gold that grabs the headlines, the other items found on the ship are potentially even more exciting going forward".

"As luck would have it, we found the treasure chest on day six", Dr. Noli told Fox News. "Academic arguments are all very well, but once you have literally filled your hat with an 25.5 lb mixture of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins (there were indeed swords as well), the value of the site is no longer in doubt".

It was a Portuguese ship, which set sail from Lisbon in 1533 captained by Sir Francisco de Noronha, and vanished, along with its entire crew, while on a voyage to India.

There was also 44,000 pounds of copper blocks aboard, and experts say that's what helped preserve the ship.

"Marine organisms may like wood, leather book covers, peach pips, jute sacking and leather shoes, but copper really puts them off their food - so a lot of stuff survived the 500 years on the bottom of the sea which should really not have done so", Noli told Fox News.

It's not clear why the Bom Jesus went down in the first place, but the area is famous for unruly weather and heavy fog.

Archaeologist Dr Dieter Noli was called to the site and is now piecing together what caused the ship to sink and indeed why so much of its haul remains in such pristine condition.

'The only exception is when it is a ship of state - then the country under whose flag the ship was sailing gets it and all its contents.

Protocol states when a ship is found, the wreck and its contents belong to the Namibian government.

It is reported Namibia will keep the haul after Portugal waived its right to reclaim it.

So, who keeps the loot?

 

 

Miners find 500-year-old shipwreck filled with gold in desert