A fishing crew in the United Kingdom recently caught a link to buried treasure: an anchor from a 17th-century shipwreck carrying precious metals worth more than 1 billion British pounds.
Found in a fishing vessel’s net 20 miles south of Land’s End, Cornwall, British media outlets report the anchor is believed to be from the Merchant Royal. A merchant ship that sank in 1641, it held 100,000 pounds of gold and 400 bars of Mexican silver when it disappeared.
Known as the “El Dorado of the seas,” the Telegraph reported the ship went down near the Isles of Sicily after hitting bad weather returning to Britain from Mexico. Experts identified the anchor by its size and age, Cornwall Live reported.
While the anchor gives a clue to where the world’s possibly most valuable shipwreck lies, a treasure hunter told inews.co.uk that amateurs would face danger searching for it. Mark Milburn, who regularly visits shipwrecks around the Cornish coast, said explorers need equipment and expertise to dive 300 feet to get to the Merchant Royal.
Any treasure hauls will need to be reported to the British government because the ship lies in state waters. A diver could end up keeping the treasure under salvage rights, but Milburn told the British outlet a license is required.
As for the anchor, Milburn said he is working with the fishing crew to store the anchor and preserve it. Milburn told the British outlet he can determine the anchor’s exact age in fresh water.
The Merchant Royal wouldn’t be the first treasure-laden shipwreck found recently in the U.K. Last year, divers found the remains of a British ship carrying diamonds and pearls from India, the Daily Mail reported. In 1684, it also sank in a storm off the coast of Cornwall.
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