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Sunken ship treasure successfully rescued in Namibia

After almost two years, international archaeologists and conservators have successfully salvaged the wreck believed to be of a 16th century Portuguese ship that lay undisturbed for 500 years off Namibia's Atlantic Coast near Oranjemund.

Recovered treasures include copper ingots, ivory and cannons [Credit: BBC]
The sunken ship's rich treasure includes a total of 2,266 gold and silver coins that were found underneath its planks. They largely consist of Portuguese and Spanish gold coins, and are presently in safe custody at the Bank of Namibia.

The project manager of the rescue excavation, Dr Webber Ndoro, said the gold coins weighing about 21 kg represent one of the worlds' greatest recent finds of lost treasure.

Copper ingots carry a trident seal used by the Fugger family [Credit: BBC]
"A single excavation never got beyond 12 kg," he said.Besides the coins, artifacts found among the remains of the ship bound for Asia from Portugal were metal ingots, elephant tusks, cannons and cannon balls, navigational instruments, food residues and part of the structure of the ship.

The shipwreck was discovered by a Namdeb worker, Kapaandu Shatika on April, 1, 2008.Ndoro said the long and arduous process to conserve the artifacts for the future has started.

Portuguese gold coins are part of the recovered cargo [Credit: BBC]
The project team aims to catalogue coins and artifacts, set up an electronic date for them, establish a secure permanent storage, and train 

Namibians to inform local and international communities about them, he said.Presently they are being stored at rehabilitated Namdeb building, which is located in the mining restricted area. 

Source: IBN Live [August 19, 2011]

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