Mexican archaeologists discover 200-year-old sunken ship

Underwater archeologists in Mexico have discovered the wreckage of a ship that sank over 200 years ago.

Archeologist Laura Carrillo Márquez, the head of the Banco Chinchorro Project, said the team pinpointed the location of the remnants a few months ago. 

“We found a naval cannon, an anchor, fragments of ballast steel ingots, some tubes and remains of nails and copper studs,” Carrillo told the Associated Press. 

The Banco Chinchorro Project believes crewmembers on the ship may have tried to thwart the catastrophe. The discovery of the boat’s anchor, still encrusted on the seaward side of the reef it crashed on, suggests they tried to stop the clash.

“We have the hypothesis that it is an English sailboat,” Carrillo said. “Based on the characteristics of the objects we were able to detect in an early approximation.”

Archeologists believe the ship hit the Chinchorro Bank in the late 18th or early 19th century. The coral reef is nicknamed the “Nightmare reef” or “Sleep-robbing reef” because it’s notoriously dangerous. Mexico even deemed the area an underwater cultural heritage site because so many collisions took place there. Carillo and her team’s findings mark the 70th discovered in the region. 

Manuel Polanco is a local fisherman who first discovered the ship in the 1970s. The project’s underwater exploration was put on hold due to the pandemic, however, the archeologists plan to resume the mission when restrictions ease. Right now little is known about the dimensions of the boat or its cargo. 

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