Treasure and artifacts raised from the famed ‘Mercedes’ shipwreck

Here is an internal memo I received about the Spanish ‘Mercedes’ shipwreck. It comes from Lucas Caine, co-owner of Big Treasure Finders, LTD out of Morehead City, NC, I thought I would pass this along to you. Every now and then, he sends me some bits of info about lost treasures along the Atlantic Coast that he thinks might interest me. I think they could interest you as well.

Lucas Caine Adventures, Caleb Wygal

Hey Gang,

This one is just a tad bit out of our range, but I thought you might be interested to know that Spanish archaeologists recently recovered artifacts including silverware, candelabras, and bronze cannons from the shipwreck of the Nuestra Senora de Las Mercedes.

What makes this interesting is that the Odyssey Marine Exploration outfit had raised about 600,000 coins from the wreck back in 2007. I think everyone thought that was all there was to it until an international seminar was held in Warsaw in 2019 where it was revealed that there was more to the wreck.

Apparently, Odyssey only focused on the coins (which Spain eventually recovered in court), leaving behind everything else.

The Mercedes went down 30 nautical miles off the coast of Portugal on October 5, 1804. The British Royal Navy sank the ship in what is now International Waters, violating an 1802 peace treaty. Nearly 300 crew members perished. The Mercedes carried a huge load of gold, silver, and copper that sat nearly 4,000 feet beneath the surface for over 200 years.

In 2014, the National Museum of Underwater Archaeology of Cartagena began plans to recover what Odyssey left in the Mercedes. They collaborated with the Spanish Navy and Spanish Oceanography Institute to achieve their goal.

The team spent the next three summers sending down ROVs and mini-subs to capture images of what was there, develop an archaeological map, and extract artifacts. They found that the Odyssey team was careless in their excavation in preserving the wreck. But the Spanish team captured the images they needed at that depth and developed a strategy to regain the artifacts.

They used high-pressure water jets to clean the area around their targets, particularly the cannons. This enabled them to delicately remove the dense, gray substratum deposits layer by layer, the same way an excavation on land would take place. They found that most of the artifacts were laying just on top of the seafloor. It took 35 hours to excavate one cannon.

The artifacts are being analyzed and restored at the museum of Cartagena. Maybe we’ll have to take a trip to Spain to check it out someday.

Anyway, I just thought I’d let you guys know what’s piqued my interest this week.

You know I love sharing what I’m reading with you all, especially Lisa. This month, I found an ebook giveaway for people who love thrillers. It’s called the Must-Read Summer Thrillers, Suspense, and Mystery Novels. In it, you can find a couple dozen FREE books across those genres. Here’s a link to it. Let me know what you find.

See ya,

Lucas Caine