Free the Ocean Blog

Discovering the hidden treasures of the Maravillas

Let’s dive into the fascinating story of the Maravillas, a Spanish galleon that met its watery fate over three centuries ago in the Bahamas. This ship wasn’t just any old vessel; it was packed with a fortune in silver and treasures from a previously sunk galleon, making its sinking a major event of its time.

A History of Treasure Hunting

Over the years, the Maravillas became a hotspot for treasure seekers. From its sinking in 1656 to modern times, various groups, including Spanish, English, and American salvagers, have tried their luck, unearthing a staggering 30 tons of riches by the early ’90s. It seemed like the Maravillas had given up all its secrets, but there was more to the story.

A New Chapter of Discovery

Enter Allen Exploration, led by Carl Allen. In 2019, with permission from the Bahamian government, they started exploring the wreck site. What they found was astonishing: a 5-kilometer trail of artifacts, revealing that much of the ship’s treasure was still hidden.

What Lies Beneath

The range of discoveries is impressive, from everyday items like olive jars and musket balls to luxurious items like silver coins, emeralds, and gold jewelry. Each piece has been carefully mapped, offering a unique glimpse into the life on board. These findings suggest that many treasures were scattered due to storms rather than just salvaging.

The artifacts, mostly found along a southeast trail, challenge the idea that the ship’s remains were randomly scattered by hurricanes. Instead, they hint at a more complex end to the Maravillas, including a load of contraband that might have been aboard.

Preserving the Past

These new discoveries are more than just treasure; they’re pieces of history. Documented in “Ocean Dispatches 4” for the Bahamas Maritime Museum, these finds from AllenX give us a deeper understanding of maritime history and the stories of these sunken ships.

So, the Maravillas continues to share its secrets, reminding us that the ocean still holds many untold stories waiting to be discovered.

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