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A wreck from the 17th century and dozens of coins were found in Italy

A fantastic find by divers in the coastal waters of Sardinia! In the Bay of Orosei, the remains of a Spanish wreck were found, the age of which was determined to be the 17th century, as well as 57 gold and silver coins bearing dates from 1556 to 1712. The whole affair had its beginning
Published: August 2, 2020 - 09:00
Updated: July 22, 2023 - 20:33
A wreck from the 17th century and dozens of coins were found in Italy

A fantastic find by divers in the coastal waters of Sardinia! In the Bay of Orosei, the remains of a Spanish wreck were found, the age of which was determined to be the 17th century, as well as 57 gold and silver coins bearing dates from 1556 to 1712.

The whole affair had its beginning in the summer of 2019, when a diving tourist came to the local carabinieri station to report an unusual find. The man, originally from Germany, found 11 coins while diving in the blue waters of the bay. The honest finder informed the local authorities, who forwarded the case to the authorities responsible for protecting historical and cultural heritage.

Diver presents gold coins Sardinia divers24.pl
Gold coins found in Sardinia

The notification started the whole process, which resulted in research work being carried out this year, at the indicated location on the bottom of the bay. This allowed the combined forces of archaeologists and carabinieri to find and excavate a further 46 coins, as well as locating the remains of a 17th century Spanish shipwreck.

Gold coins recovered from a wreck divers24.co.uk
Spanish gold coins from 17th century wreck

Among the excavated numismats, 27 are made of gold, from the period defined as between the 16th and 18th centuries. Interestingly, 3 gold coins come from France and were probably struck during the reign of Louis XV (1715-1774), and another 2 come from Piedmont and are dated to the 17th century. The remaining 14 coins from the Iberian Peninsula were made of silver in the 17th century.

Conference presenting underwater findings from the Gulf of Orosei divers24.pl
Press conference and presentation of findings

“This is one of the most important finds made in the Mediterranean,” explained Bruno Billeci, director of the Soprintendenza Archeologica Belle Arti e Paesaggio in Sassari and Nuoro, during a press conference at the headquarters of the Carabinieri Provincial Command of Nuoro. “The most likely hypothesis is that the coins landed in the water after the ship carrying their cargo crashed, around 1712.”

In addition to the media-focused costly artefacts made of precious metals, 3 ceramic amphora fragments, a decorated ceramic fragment, and a piece of metal were also found within the archaeological site, the origin of which has been tentatively determined to be ancient.

Gold coins excavated in Sardinia divers24.co.uk
A total of 57 coins were recovered from the wreck

The survey also managed to identify a large rudder, measuring almost 5 metres, which archaeologists believe was part of a Spanish ship from the 17th century.

Source ANSA

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About author

Tomasz Andrukajtis
Editor-in-chief of the DIVERS24 portal and magazine. Responsible for obtaining, translating and developing content. He also supervises all publications. Achived his first diving certification – P1 CMAS, in 2000. Has a degree in journalism and social communication. In the diving industry since 2008.
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