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Treasure from the Most Famous Shipwreck Is Uncovered

The Spanish galleon Maravillas was one of the richest treasure ships ever lost at sea when it sank in the northern Bahamas over three centuries ago. Since then it has been salvaged into oblivion—at least that’s what experts thought.

Now, after four years of underwater archaeology, Allen Exploration has mapped a sprawling trail of scattered treasure running for over 5 kilometers.

Late at night on January 4, 1656, the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas (Our Lady of Wonders) sank off the western Little Bahama Bank loaded with treasure. The Spanish ship was heading home, groaning under the weight of silver bars and coins. Also onboard was the treasure salvaged from an earlier galleon lost near Ecuador two years earlier.

Soon after, the galleon was ‘fished’ for relics on at least 21 occasions, heavily stripped by Spanish salvors and then English and American crews. Then, between 1972 and 1991, modern salvage teams re-discovered the wreck and lifted an alleged 30 tons of gold bars and coins, silver nuggets, jewelry, emeralds, iron anchors, and cannons.

“Many experts believe the story of the Maravillas is over, that past salvage picked the old ship dry,” says Carl Allen, the founder of AllenX. “Now we’ve proven the wreck is not all vanished.”

Since 2019, licensed by the Bahamian government, AllenX has discovered the survival of a sprawling scatter of artifacts running southeast for a distance of over three miles from where the Maravillas originally hit a reef and sank.

Hidden beneath waves and sand are olive jars, silver pieces of eight, silver bars, emeralds, amethysts and gold jewelry. Every single find uncovered, from 828 lead musket balls and 10,988 olive jars fragments to almost 3,000 silver coins and 125 emeralds and amethysts, has been painstakingly mapped.


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