Investigators believe they may have stumbled across the remains of the Santa Maria, Christopher Columbus' infamous flagship, which was wrecked in the Caribbean. It is lying on the bottom of the ocean off the north coast of Haiti.
“All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria,” Barry Clifford, leader of a recent reconnaissance expedition to the site and one of America’s top underwater archaeological investigators, told the Independent.
“The Haitian government has been extremely helpful – and we now need to continue working with them to carry out a detailed archaeological excavation of the wreck,” Clifford said.
Clifford and his team have been measuring and photographing the ship, waiting on more invasive investigation.
The centuries old wreck matches up with information about the Santa Maria.
Columbus sailed the ship from Spain’s Atlantic Coast in an attempt to reach Asia way back in 1492. He reached the Bahamas in 37 days, but the ship drifted into a reef off the coast of Haiti 10 days after that. Columbus began building his first fort at a nearby village before sailing back to Spain on one of his two remaining vessels.
The ship’s remains were photographed for the first time in 2003. When Clifford and his on Brandon returned to the site this month to identify a Columbus-era canon and other artifacts from the vessel, they found that they had been looted by raiders.
“We’ve informed the Haitian government of our discovery – and we are looking forward to working with them and other Haitian colleagues to ensure that the site is fully protected and preserved. It will be a wonderful opportunity to work with the Haitian authorities to preserve the evidence and artifacts of the ship that changed the world,” said Clifford, who hopes that the ship could be lifted out of the water and displayed in a museum.
“I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America.”