Namibia wreck 16th century Portuguese treasure ship

17th September 2008, Comments 0 comments

The vessel has been linked to Portuguese explorer Bartholomez Diaz, who was the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope.

Windhoek -- A mystery shipwreck laden with gold discovered by geologists off the coast of Namibia in April is a 16th century Portuguese vessel that was bound for Asia, the country's information ministry announced on Tuesday.

The ship's rich bounty includes 2,000 gold coins and 1.4 kilograms in silver coins, the ministry said in a statement.

Researchers also found navigational instruments among the remains of the ship, which was discovered by geologists prospecting for diamonds.

The shipwreck is believed to be the oldest ever discovered off the coasts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The vessel has been linked to Portuguese explorer Bartholomez Diaz, who was the first European to round the Cape of Good Hope on the tip of Africa, in his efforts to establish a sea route from the Atlantic to Asia in 1488. Diaz went missing in 1500.

Archaeologists and geologists from the US, Portugal, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe had met in August and decided to carry out the excavation over a number of weeks in September, the statement said.

South Africa-based German archaeologist Bruno Werz led the team.

Journalists will get a first peek at the ship on Monday.

The geologists made the find in April after clearing a stretch of seabed at the site and draining it. Besides the treasure, they also found cannons and elephant tusks on the seabed.

DPA/Expatica

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