Maravillas: 350-year-old Spanish shipwreck treasure haul goes on display in Bahamas

Last updated at 06:36
Brendan Chavez
The treasure haul includes gold coins, chains and priceless jewels

A team of experts has uncovered a priceless treasure trove from the wreck of a 350-year-old Spanish galleon.

The incredible haul includes items such as gold and silver coins, jewellery and precious gemstones.

The Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas - which translates as 'Our Lady of Wonders' - sank in 1656 off the coast of the Bahamas after it collided with another boat from its fleet.

The vessel was laden with more cargo than usual, as it was also transporting treasure retrieved from another ship that had recently sunk nearby!

What did experts find?
Nathaniel Harrington
Experts think that this chain was intended for a wealthy aristocrat or even royalty!

A team of marine experts, archaeologists and local Bahamian divers spent two years carrying out their underwater expedition.

They mapped out a search area which helped them to solve the mystery of how the ship was wrecked and fell apart.

There had been several successful attempts over the past 350 years to retrieve the ship's cargo, with almost 3.5 million items recovered from the sea between 1656 and the 1990s.

But by using new technology the team were able to discover new treasures scattered across a large area that hadn't been touched before.

They included a nearly 2-metre long decorated gold chain, a gold pendant covered with green emeralds and other items including porcelain and olive jars.

The haul is now going on display at Bahamas Maritime Museum for the first time.

What was the Maravillas?
Allen Exploration
An artist's reconstruction of how the Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas might have looked

The 891-tonne capacity Nuestra Señora de las Maravillas was a two-deck Spanish galleon armed with 36 cannons that finished being built in 1647.

It was travelling home from Cuba to Spain laden with royal and private goods.

The vessel also carried high value cargo rescued from another Spanish galleon which had sunk nearly two years earlier near the South American country of Ecuador.

The Maravillas sank in the northern Bahamas on January 4 1656 after colliding with another boat from its fleet and hitting a coral reef.

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