A pre-Columbian Peruvian funeral mask found recently in waters off the east coast of Florida may be part of the valuable treasure of a fleet of Spanish ships that sank in 1715, local media reported today.
EFE tried without success to confirm the information with the company Seafarer Exploration, based in Tampa, which since 2014 has the rights of archaeological exploration and exploitation in a marine area near Melbourne Beach, south of Cape Canaveral.
Showing the pre-Columbian funeral mask to the cameras of the WKMG channel, possibly once covered with gold, the scientist Mike Torres, member of the Advisory Board of Seafarer Exploration, said that “there are not many pieces like this one in the world today” .
The expert added that it could be one of the “first known examples of human work with metal.”
It is believed that in the area explored by Seafarer Exploration may be the wreck of one of the eleven ships that, due to a powerful hurricane, sank on July 31, 1715 with a declared treasure of more than 14 million pesos at the time, which the media calculates that it is equivalent to about 4,000 million dollars now.
A thousand crew died. Only one of the 12 ships that left Havana on July 24, 1715, the “Griffon”, was not destroyed on the trip.
So far, according to the Seafarer Exploration website, in the exploration area near Melbourne Beach, a pistol, a cannon and bullets, a silver tray and remains of large wooden planks were found, which the company’s scientists believe that they correspond to one of the eleven sunken ships, the “Santísima Trinidad and Nuestra Señora de la Concepción”.
Torres said that “underwater exploration teams have found their way to the remains” of the ship.
He specified that, if the wreck was rescued, 80% of the value of the treasure would be left by Seafarer Exploration and the remaining 20% would be from the state of Florida.
He added that if this were to happen, part of the treasure would be preserved and exhibited in a collection open to the public, the aforementioned channel added.