Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gold cross and chain from the Atocha found

The ocean floor off the Florida Keys never seems to stop giving.

Diver Bill Burt with Mel Fisher’s Treasures was looking for a section of the sunken Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, this week. Instead, he came across a 40- inch gold chain shimmering on the sandy ocean floor about 30 miles from Key West.

The chain, which is believed to have come from the Atocha, contains a gold medallion and a gold cross. The cross appears to be, according to the salvors, inscribed with Latin letters. It is estimated to be worth $250,000.

Mel Fisher’s team found a portion of the Atocha and $450 million worth of artifacts and treasure in 1985. But the contents of the Atocha’s sterncastle, a wooden, fort-shaped area at the back of ship, have never been recovered. The Atocha sank during a hurricane in 1622. A second hurricane is believed to have torn the sterncastle from the Atocha and carried it miles away.

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