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Beautiful shipwreck discovery: 400-year-old wreck tension experts

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400-year-old shipwreck tension experts

How a shipwreck discovery in Portugal is the leading archaeologists new clues about the legendary spice trade.

A 400-year old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Portugal has been hailed as a “significant” archaeological discovery.

The city council of Cascais, a resort town near Lisbon, said on Monday the Portuguese ship was involved in the very lucrative spice trade between Portugal and India. Pepper corns, cowry shells used in the slave trade, and bronze artillery pieces litter the wreck. The guns are fitted with the Portuguese national coat of arms.

Experts say that the shipwreck dates to the late 16th century to the beginning of the 17th century. The site is 39 metres below the surface of the water, covers an area over an estimated 328 feet by 164 feet.

SITE OF A 1503 SHIPWRECK BOUND TO VASCO DA GAMA FROM OMAN

Cascais Mayor Carlos Carreiras described the wreck as one of the most important archaeological discoveries in Portugal in the last ten years, according to Sky News quotes the Portuguese newspaper Publico.

The shipwreck has been hailed as a major discovery. (Camara Municipal de Cascais)

In addition to the city of Cascais, New University of Lisbon and the Portuguese Navy also took part in the project.

Officials said in a statement that the wreckage was found last month during dredging at the mouth of the Tagus River on the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

500 YEAR OLD SHIPWRECK LOADED WITH GOLD FOUND IN THE NAMIBIAN DESERT

Preliminary excavations have also found porcelain dating from the period of the chinese Emperor Wanli in the late 16th and early 17th century.

The wreck lies in an area known as the Underwater Archaeological map of the Municipality of Cascais (PROCASC) that contains numerous shipwrecks dating back to Roman times.

The wreck dates back to a time when Portugal was the centre of a far-flung trading and colonial network that linked Europe, Africa, Asia and South America.

In 2016, archaeologists said they had discovered that the 500-year-old wreck of a Portuguese ship off Oman. The ship, the Esmeralda, was governed by an uncle of the explorer Vasco da Gama.

Also in 2016, diamond miners in Namibia found the remains of a gold-laden Portuguese ship that went missing 500 years ago on the way to India.

Walt Bonner and The Associated Press contributed to this article.

Follow James Rogers on Twitter @jamesjrogers

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