Many ships filled lost treasure, gold and jewelry were lost at sea. Some of this lost underwater treasure is still there today, so get your diving equipment and start the hunt.
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At number 16, we start with a shipwreck that didn’t even require scuba gear to reach. In 1533, The Portuguese ship Bom Jesus vanished off the Namibian coast without a trace. In 2008 the remains of the ship were found, buried in the sand, shipwrecked by a violent storm. Nicknamed “The Diamond Shipwreck” because, well, there’s a diamond mine close by, it is the oldest shipwreck ever discovered on the coast of Africa. Inside the Bom Jesus, 22 tons of copper were found, along with cannons, swords, elephant tusks and thousands of gold coins traced to King Joao [pronounced who-AH-oh] the 3rd.
At 15, it’s the Hanneke Wrome. Discovered in south Finland near the island of Jussaro by archaeologists diving underwater, the ship had sunk in 1468 with all of its passengers and cargo. Almost 100 feet long, it is still well preserved and the woodwork still shows the craftsmanship of the Hanseatic builders. Along with other trading goods of the time, The Hanneke was also carrying 10,000 gold coins, which are now worth around $60 million.
Next, we continue with The Belitung. Discovered off the coast of Indonesia in 1998, it was an arabian ship; the first to be discovered there actually. As a trading ship, it was filled with spice jars, funeral urns, silver boxes, bowls and crystals. It was carrying treasures such as jewels, rubies and sapphires, silver and gold cups, and flasks. Soon after its discovery, the wreck was purchased by the Singaporean Government and is now a tourist attraction.
A really long time ago, between 1200 and 900 B.C., while the Babylon Empire was still a thing, a ship sank off the coast of Devon, England. It was discovered in 2010 by amateur archaeologists, along with over 300 artifacts like weapons, jewelry and copper and tin ingots. It’s not exactly filled with riches like the other ships on our list, but it’s a very important discovery nonetheless. It offers a glimpse into a very distant period in our history and proves that big trade networks existed during the Bronze Age between Europe and Britain.
A hurricane brought down the S.S. Central American in 1857, at number 12 on our list, along with its cargo of 15 tons of gold. The shipwreck and the lost gold led to the “Panic of 1857”, the first worldwide economic crisis, that started in the US impacted by the loss of the ship.
It was discovered in 1987 and 39 insurance companies made claims to the gold and other artifacts within. When the ship sank, the same insurance companies were forced to pay damages and were now trying to get their money back. After long battles in court, the team that discovered the gold was awarded 92 percent of the treasure. Different pieces of it went up for auction, with one record-breaking sale of one gold bar for $8 million.
Next, we continue with a shipwreck of the coast of Greece. Discovered in the year 1900, it was the world's first major underwater archaeological expedition, with scientists from all over the world following it closely. The recovery process took over 70 years, with the last expedition being in 1976. The shipwreck contained the famous Antikythera mechanism, believed to be the world's oldest analog computer. Because of this famous artifact, many people tend to ignore the rest of the treasure, which includes coins and jewelry, glassware, pottery, statues and even couches and beds. The entire collection of artifacts is on display at the National Archaeological Museum in Greece.
At number 10 we have The S.S. Republic. Discovered off the coast of Georgia, by Odyssey, a deep sea salvage and exploration company, the ship had been submerged for more than 200 years. Believed to have sunk during a hurricane in 1865, it went down with over 50,000 US silver and gold coins and nearly 14,000 other artifacts, that include thousands of glasses, bottles, and stoneware containers. Shortly after its discovery a lawsuit was filed laying claim to the wreck. A federal judge ruled in favor of Odyssey, and in 2004 the company was legally awarded ownership of the found wreckage.
The San Jose was a Spanish galleon destroyed by the British around 300 years ago. Everyone onboard was killed and the ship sank near the coast of Colombia. The ship's cargo includes gems, jewelry, gold and silver, all estimated to be worth $1 billion.
Under over 1000 feet of water, deep in the ports of Cartagena, its exact location is not disclosed by the Colombian government, to keep it safe from looters and treasure hunters.
A couple of divers were exploring the harbor of Caesarea National Park in Israel when they found a gold coin. It was the first of many, as they would later discover, when the Israel Antiquities Authority returned with a whole team and recovered more than 2000 gold coins