Treasures of the Diamond Shipwreck to be Revealed for First Time

Treasures of the Diamond Shipwreck to be Revealed for First Time

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The Bom Jesus, a ship which seemingly vanished without a trace, was unearthed in a surprising location in 2008. The ship, its crew, and its cargo of gold went missing in 1533. Known also as the ‘Diamond Shipwreck’, the location of the Bom Jesus has been heavily guarded at its site in the Namibia desert due to its proximity to diamond mines (which influenced its nickname.)

Now, talks have begun regarding the possibility of lifting the veil on the site and opening it to the public as a museum that will feature the shipwreck that was buried in the desert sands for almost 500 years.

Miniature of the Bom Jesus ship. ( Dieter Noli )

CNN has reported that some of the artifacts have been kept in damp storage since they were found. Specifically, timber, muskets, cannonballs, and swords are receiving this kind of preservation treatment. Apart from these objects, the researchers found armor, pewter bowls, ivory tusks, 22 tonnes of copper ingots, and a large quantity of gold. As Ancient Origins reported on the discovery, “The gold was in the form of coins, more than 2,000 in total, mainly Spanish excelentes bearing the likenesses of the monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, but also some Ventian, Moorish, French and other coinage.”

Gold coins were discovered among the treasure. ( Dieter Noli )

According to archaeologist Dieter Noli (who was called in when the discovery was first made), the Portuguese sailing ship reached its final resting place after striking a rock near the African coastline known for dangerous seas and storms.

After it struck the rock, Noli says that the ship, “started breaking up and the chest with the coins was in the captain’s cabin, and it broke free and fell to the bottom of the sea intact… In breaking up, a very heavy part of the side of the ship fell on that chest and bent some of the coins. You can see the force by which the chest was hit, but it also protected the chest.”

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But what happened to the crew? It is known that the “ship was captained by a Dom Francisco de Noronha, and carried around 300 sailors, soldiers, merchants, priests, nobles, and slaves.” But “the only human remains recovered from the wreck are several toe bones in a shoe found pinned beneath a mass of timbers.” There were also few personal belongings that were found in the wreckage.

These facts have led archaeologists to believe that many of the people who were on the Bom Jesus did not perish with the ship. However, the harsh conditions of the land when they arrived may have brought about the end soon after they left the wreck. Other researchers have suggested that the group may have met with indigenous tribes (who may have helped them) or reached the Orange River, which is not too far from the site.

Rosary beads and a silver Portuguese coin that were found with the wreck. (Dieter Noli )

Diamond miners have been working around the site of the Bom Jesus wreckage for more than a century. Their work in Namibia's Namib Desert (called the Sperrgebiet ("forbidden territory")) has also provided security for the ship and limited the number of people who have been able to see it.

If the museum plans come through than the Bom Jesus, which is connected to "one of the biggest maritime mysteries" and allegedly “the oldest shipwreck ever found in sub-Saharan Africa” will finally be visited by a long-awaiting public.

    10 Astonishing Shipwreck Treasures

    According to UNESCO, there are as many as three million shipwrecks scattered across the world&rsquos seabed. Under international maritime and salvage law, military wrecks normally remain under the jurisdiction of their governments, while almost anything goes in international waters.

    To excavate the ocean&rsquos wrecks would take more than 400 years, and its treasures could be worth hundreds of billions of dollars. It should come as no surprise that, aside from being attractive to underwater archaeologists, these wrecks are also of major interest to treasure hunters and salvage operations as they can potentially generate millions of dollars&ndashgiven the right wrecks are discovered.

    Ship's story revealed in 435-year-old wreckage

    1 of 8 Ed Von der Porten, with a replica he is building of the whaling vessel, the "San Juan" from circa 1576, at his home on Friday August 19, 2011 in San Francsico. He is building this replica because it is very similar to the Spanish galleon,"San Felipe" which Von der Porten, is the cheif organizer of an expedition researching the ship which sank 400 years ago in Baja California, Mexico. The "San Juan", was discovered off the coast of Labrador and construction plans where made after it was raised from the ocean floor. Michael Macor/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    2 of 8 Ed Von der Porten, at his home in San Francisco, Ca. on Friday August 19, 2011. Von der Porten, holds a piece of a stoneware jar discovered along the beach near where they believe the ship sank in Baja California Mexico. Von der Porten, is the chief organizer of an expedition that has researched a Spanish galleon, the "San Felipe" which sank 400 years ago in Baja California. Michael Macor/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    4 of 8 Ed Von der Porten, at his home on Friday August 19, 2011 in San Francsico, Ca., holds one of the hundreds of pieces of Ming porcelain discovered along the beach in Baja California in Mexico. Against a painting of the vessell, "San Felipe" by artist Gordon Miller. Von der Porten, is the cheif organizer of an expedition that is researching the Spanish galleon, "San Felipe" which sank more than 400 years ago in Baja California, Mexico. Michael Macor/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    5 of 8 A photograph of a bronze Buddist guardian lion figure, on Friday August 19, 2011 in San Francsico, Ca. at the home of Ed Von der Porten. The piece which was discovered near the sunken vessel, is currently in Mexico City being restored. Von der Porten, is the cheif organizer of an expedition that has been researching the Spanish galleon, "San Felipe" lost for 400 years after sinking in Baja California, Mexico. Ed Von der Porten/Photo Courtesy: Ed Von der Porte Show More Show Less

    7 of 8 At the home of Ed Von der Porten, on Friday August 19, 2011 in San Francsico, Ca., displayed are a few of the hundreds of pieces of Ming porcelain discovered along the beach in Baja California in Mexico. Against a painting of the vessel, "San Felipe" by artist Gordon Miller. Von der Porten, is the cheif organizer of an expedition that researched the Spanish galleon, "San Felipe" which sank more than 400 years ago in Baja California, Mexico. Michael Macor/The Chronicle Show More Show Less

    Edward Von der Porten, a San Francisco nautical historian and archaeologist, has a sea story to tell - of disease and death and the shipwreck of a Spanish galleon full of the treasures of Asia.

    He holds up a piece of delicate blue and white porcelain, part of a broken bowl. It shows a bird standing in a pond, a boat, a Chinese pagoda.

    It is a piece more than 435 years old, salvaged from a bleak and remote beach in Baja California. It is part of the cargo of the galleon San Felipe, which sailed from Manila in the Philippines for the nearly unknown coast of California and the port of Acapulco, Mexico, in the summer of 1576.

    The San Felipe was never seen again until the wreck was found not long ago, allowing its story to be told for the first time.

    It is a centuries-old tragedy - a horrible last voyage that ended with the crew starving and racked with scurvy or some other dietary disease, so weak they could not sail the ship any longer. The San Felipe ran aground, everyone aboard dead or dying, "like a ghost ship," Von der Porten said.

    The beach where the San Felipe ended up had no water, no food, no people. Even now, it is remote - "the middle of nowhere," Von der Porten said.

    Everything lost

    The mariners aboard the San Felipe had risked everything on that voyage. Had it succeeded, they would have become rich. "Instead," Von der Porten said, "they lost everything."

    Von der Porten and his associates - who include American beachcombers Mexican archaeologists the late Clarence Shangraw, curator of the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco George Kuwayama of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and dozens of volunteers - have acted like maritime detectives to discover the story of the shipwreck.

    The story began in 1576 when Spanish authorities in their new Philippine colony sent the San Felipe, a three-masted ship about 115 feet long, on a voyage eastward to Acapulco.

    The officers were Spanish, probably from Mexico, and the crew was mixed, some Spanish but mostly Filipinos, who were known for their seafaring skills.

    The cargo was silk and spices, beeswax in big blocks, porcelain and some bronze figures. It came from China the Spanish and Chinese had just developed a trade relationship - silver from Mexico for Chinese silk and trade goods.

    The San Felipe sailed north from the Philippines, to pick up the Japan Current, then eastward to make a landfall on the rocky and inhospitable California coast, possibly near Cape Mendocino.

    There was a ship every year along the route. The Manila galleon trade - westbound from Mexico, eastbound from the Philippines - lasted until 1815, 250 years. However, it was one of the most difficult voyages in the world - four months long, if the mariners were lucky, six months if the weather was bad. Some years the ships would arrive in Mexico with the sailors so sick they could barely stand. On some voyages sickness killed them all, and the ship was found adrift.

    One galleon, the San Agustin, was wrecked in what is now Marin County in 1595, but the skipper, Sebastian Rodriguez Cermeno, sailed with the survivors in an open boat 2,500 miles to Acapulco the only casualty was the ship's dog.

    Buried for centuries

    The San Felipe had no such luck. Its hulk remained offshore for perhaps a year after the ship ran aground and then was scattered by a storm and the cargo spread on the beach over an area seven miles long.

    There it sat, half buried in sand, for centuries. About 1997, Americans on a summer vacation trip found pieces of curious blue pottery.

    What Caused the Shipwreck?

    What brought the vessel down may remain a mystery. But Noli has theories, noting the stretch of coast was notorious for fierce storms and disorienting fogs.

    In later years, sailors with sophisticated navigational tools avoided it.

    The only tools found on the wreck were astrolabes, which can be used to determine only how far north or south you have sailed.

    "Sending a ship toward Africa in that period, that was venture capital in the extreme," Noli said.

    "These chaps were very much on the edge as far as navigation. It was still very difficult for them to know where they were."

    Noli has found signs that worms were at work on the ship's timber, and sheets of lead used to patch holes, indications the ship was old when it went down.

    Imagine a leaky, overladen ship caught in a storm, he said. The copper ingots, shaped like sections of a sphere, would have sat snug, but the tusks—some 50 have been found—could have shifted, tipping the ship.

    Lake Michigan shipwreck from Civil War could contain gold treasure, divers say

    CHICAGO (WLS) -- Could the lost Confederate gold treasure that was stolen after the Civil War be buried somewhere in northern Lake Michigan? Two Muskegon treasure hunters strongly believe it is.

    This year's quest to find the gold has begun for Kevin Dykstra and Frederick J. Monroe. They believe they may have already found a significant piece to
    the puzzle, which would put them a step closer to proving their theory true.

    Dykstra and Monroe made worldwide news in December 2014 when they went public with their claim of finding the holy grail of all Great Lakes
    shipwrecks - Le Griffon. They say they actually found that shipwreck in 2011 , but chose not to go public because they wanted to research and consult
    with maritime experts first.

    When they decided to go public last December, the duo admitted they weren't searching for lost vessels at the time of making their Griffon claim. Instead, they say they were looking for gold treasure.

    Thanks to a deathbed confession that's nearly a century old, and four years of intense research done by Dykstra, both explorers believe they're on the
    brink of a breakthrough.

    The breakthrough they were looking for may have happened by accident in April, 2015, and WZZM was on the boat with the treasure hunters when they
    dove on their discovery for the first time.

    "Sometimes it's not about what you're looking for, it's what you find while you're looking," said Dykstra, who has been treasure hunting alongside
    Frederick Monroe for the past several years.

    The pair began scanning Lake Michigan off the coast of Frankfort as soon as the ice melted, looking for the box car, they claim, has over 2 million
    dollars of gold bullion resting inside of it.

    "Forty years of waiting," said Monroe, referring to how long it's been since he first heard about the possibility of gold treasure in the lake. "I'm
    sure this season we'll find it."

    Dykstra and Monroe believe the lost Confederate gold treasure from the Civil War is somewhere at the bottom of Lake Michigan, thanks to a two-part story that has transcended generations, and was last relayed to Monroe in 1972.

    "I was sitting down and talking to a friend of mine, and all of the sudden he says, 'Fred, you're just the person I want to see with your diving
    experience," said Monroe. "My grandfather told me a story that he heard from a lighthouse keeper, who originally heard it during a deathbed confession,
    that there's 2 million dollars of gold bullion inside a box car that fell off a ferry into Lake Michigan."

    After four years of research, Dykstra and Monroe revealed in January, a man by the name of George Alexander Abbott, delivered the deathbed confession. Abbott died in Muskegon, Michigan in 1921.

    At the time of his death, Abbott was a prominent banker in Muskegon, elevating as high as Vice President of Hackley National Bank, under former Muskegon lumber baron, Charles H. Hackley.

    "We believe wholeheartedly that the Confederate gold story is true, and we believe that the box car is out there," said Dykstra.

    It is fact that in the late 1800s, near Frankfort, box cars were shoved off ferries into Lake Michigan to lighten the load during bad weather.

    The deathbed confession was only half of the story, according to Monroe. His friend offered up a second tale in 1972.

    "He told me about a boat that has a cabin in it, which has a safe in it, and inside the safe, there was jewelry, gold and silver," added Monroe.

    Even though this mystery ship, presumably loaded with treasure, was part of the story Monroe heard, the two explorers admit they weren't looking it.

    But it may be what they found in April.

    "We were searching for the box car when we decided to make one final pass and head out towards deeper water," said Dykstra.

    All of the sudden, a large image appeared on their sonar. It looked like a ship sitting upright on the lake bottom.

    "Kevin got suited up," said Monroe.

    Curiosity triggered an immediate investigation of what this large object could be. The water temperature was a frigid 37 degrees, but Kevin Dykstra
    and his brother, Albert, threw on their dive gear and prepared to descend to the deep.

    "Rather than aborting the effort, we decided to go through with it," said Dykstra.

    The two entered the water, and their 120-foot dive to the bottom was underway.

    As Kevin worked his way down the dive rope, he says a perfectly preserved vessel came into view.

    He says it didn't take long to determine that it was a tug boat, and it was roughly 70 feet in length.

    "I was actually hovering over the bow of the ship, and when I looked down, I could see the windless very clear," said Dykstra, recalling his initial
    investigation of the shipwreck. "Just back from the winch, I came across the mast which was sticking straight up."

    Just beyond the mast was a hatch cover on the deck of the vessel that somehow didn't pop off the boat, due to pressurization, while it sank. It was still completely intact.

    "To the left of the hatch cover was a very pronounced anchor," Dykstra said, while smiling, knowing that since the anchor was still attached to this
    ship, he was likely exploring a previously undiscovered wreck.

    "I moved back towards the back of the ship when I came across the pilot house, which was still perfectly intact," said Dykstra. "The steering wheel
    was still in place."

    Scroll down for video

    Sparkle: A platinum, 18 carat gold and diamond ring (left) that most probably belonged to one of the Titanic's first class passengers accompanies a sapphire and diamond piece for a 100th anniversary exhibit

    The collection includes diamond and sapphire rings, brooches, necklaces, cuff links and a gold pocket watch.

    Top 10 mysterious lost treasures of Russia

    In reality, treasure is discovered in Russia much more frequently than the press would have us believe. Current legislation, however, means that treasure hunters are generally better advised to keep quiet about their findings: any unearthed treasure must be equally divided between the finder and the landowner. If the find is thought to contain items of &ldquocultural or historical significance,&rdquo half of the appraised value goes to the state, while the finder can claim only half of the remaining 50 percent. Moreover, the treasure is often fraudulently appraised, so the finder really only receives a fraction of the real value.

    Of course, this is not just about the money. Treasure hunters believe in fairy-tales, and, in their minds, they are never far from discovering a legendary find. RBTH details the 12 most sought-after treasure-troves in Russia.

    The renowned &ldquogolden suitcase&rdquo was actually black and, in documents, simply referred to as &ldquoSpetsgruz No. 15.&rdquo In 1926, around 70 silver Pontic and Bosporan coins, Genoese, Byzantine, Turkish coins, medals, gold plates, priceless antique jewelry, and other treasures from the 3rd through 5th centuries A.D. were discovered in a Gothic barrow and handed over to the Kerchensky archaeological museum. Fifteen years later, these artifacts were lost during the German Siege of Sevastopol.

    In 1982, research revealed that the suitcase had been taken to the Cossack village of Spokoynaya, where it fell into the hands of guerilla fighters. All of this took place while the region was completely surrounded by Nazi troops. It is believed the Nazis knew of the priceless hoard but were never able to pinpoint its location.

    Today, treasure hunters come from far and wide to try their luck, searching fields and mountains surrounding the village where guerilla troops were once based. The hoard has yet to be discovered.

    What to look for: 719 ancient gold and silver items with a combined weight of around 175 pounds.

    Where to look: Near the village of Spokoynaya, Otradnensky District, Krasnodar Territory.

    The story of Kolchak's gold is a legend amongst treasure hunters. Opinions differ as to what exactly happened and where the treasure is located. What is certain is that, during the Russian Civil War, the White Army declared Admiral Alexander Vasilievich Kolchak Supreme Ruler of the Russian state. His position as the anti-communist leader was backed up with a large portion of Russian gold reserves, which the white army had transported from Kazan to Omsk. At the time, a bank in Omsk estimated the gold reserves to have an overall worth of 650 million rubles ($20.8 million). However, when the gold was returned to the state after Kolchak&rsquos defeat in 1921, a number of bullions were missing, and the reserves were valued at just 400 million rubles ($12.8 million).

    What happened to the 250 million rubles ($80 million) worth of Russian gold? According to Estonian soldier Karl Purrok, who served in the Siberian regiment of Kolchak's army, the soldiers were forced to unload the gold at the Taiga train station near Kemerovo and bury it. In the beginning of 1941, the NKVD (Soviet secret police) found Purrok and ordered him to travel from Estonia to help investigators locate the Siberian stash. After numerous excavations, the NKVD eventually gave up. The treasure is still waiting to be found.

    What to look for: Gold bullions.

    Where to look: Omsk city, Omsk Region Taiga village Kemerovo Region.

    Saint Petersburg thief Lenka Panteleyev made history in November 1922, when he made the first &mdash and last &mdashsuccessful jail-break from Kresta prison. Having regained his freedom, Panteleyev decided to &ldquogo to work&rdquo for a few years before fleeing abroad. In just two months, he completed 35 armed robberies, killing his victims before making off with money, gold chains, bracelets, earrings, rings and other pocketed valuables. But Panteleyev never managed to leave the country. On the night of February 12, 1923, investigators tracked Panteleyev down and shot him on the spot. The riches he had accumulated vanished into thin air &mdash at least, that is what Petersburg treasure hunters say. To this day, they continue their search all over the city's many underground hiding places, so far without success. Treasure hunters occasionally come across the stockpiles of modern-day gangsters, stuffed full of weapons, lockpicks, and other equipment essential to a life of crime but the Panteleyev jackpot remains unfound.

    What to look for: Gold coins, jewelry.

    Where to look: The crypt of the Alexander Nevsky monastery, the Ligovsky catacombs and other caverns hidden beneath the center of Saint Petersburg

    The Varyagin, a cargo-passenger liner driven by Captain Ovchinnikov and owned by merchant Aleksei Semyonovich Varyagin, wrecked in Ussuri Bay on October 7, 1906. The ship sunk almost immediately, leaving only 15 survivors, including the captain.

    Following the shipwreck, the merchant Varyagin sent an aide to the local governor to ask if the 60,000 rubles ($1,900) and &ldquoespecially valuable cargo&rdquo on board could be compensated, &ldquoin light of exceptional circumstances.&rdquo The governor refused and, later in 1913, Captain Ovchinnikov led a salvage expedition himself. The captain managed to find the ship, but he also realized that he would need much more in the way of funds and manpower to recover the actual treasure. The second expedition was postponed due to storms then WWI broke out, followed by the Russian Revolution. Thus, the first unsuccessful attempt to recover the sunken hoard was also the last.

    What to look for: Gold coins.

    Where to look: Vladivostok, Primorskiy Territory Ussuri Bay, between the Tryokh Kamnei outcrop, Vargli Mountain and Sukhodol Bukhta Bay.

    A hefty portion of treasure found in Russia was hidden around the turn of the 16th century. Specifically, the Time of Troubles (1598 - 1613) produced especially valuable hoards of buried riches.

    In 1611, an uprising broke out against the occupying Polish in Moscow. The uprising was crushed and led to more pillaging by the Polish. No one knows whether the Poles intended to send their loot to the King of Poland, Sigmund III or use it to finance their rule over Russia. Whatever the intention, the stolen treasures were lost in-transit, on the way to Smolensk. Instructions as to where to find the lost treasure have since surfaced: the valuables are apparently buried 2,100 feet from a local miracle worker&rsquos barrow, near the Khvorostyanka River. The directions would be straightforward, if it were not for the fact that there are hundreds of barrows fitting this description. Experts recommend that treasure hunters search for the Polish loot near what is now the city of Mozhaysk.

    What to look for: Valuables, jewelry, gold and silver.

    Where to look: Mozhaysk, Moscow Region.

    When Napoleon decided to abandon Moscow in October of 1812, his troops started their long journey back on the Staraya Kaluzhskaya road but Russian troops barricaded the route and forced the unwelcome foreign guests to retreat along Staraya Smolenskaya. Napoleon had two wagon trains: the so-called &ldquogolden train,&rdquo carrying valuables looted from the Kremlin and the iron train, full of ancient weaponry. As they retreated, Napoleon's exhausted army was forced to abandon some of their spoils.

    Historians believe the valuables were thrown into one of the lakes west of Smolensk Region. Over the years there have been a number of attempts to find the abandoned loot. In the early 1960s, for example, a communist group organized a special expedition to the lakes around Smolensk, but had no success in locating the spoils. Recently, geophysicists discovered high concentrations of gold and silver in the waters of Semlevskoe Lake today, this is the most popular destination for seekers of the Napoleonic hoard.

    What to look for: Ancient weaponry, the gold-plated cross from Ivan the Great&rsquos bell-tower, silver chandeliers, candle-holders, diamonds, gold coins and bullions.

    Where to look: Semlevskoe Lake, Semovo village, Smolensk Region.

    This legendary library, whose last known owner was Ivan IV, is the ultimate prize for thousands of treasure hunters all over the world. The collection includes 800 volumes of rare and valuable books, including Titus of Libya's &ldquoHistory,&rdquo Virgil's &ldquoAenead,&rdquo and Aristophanes&rsquo &ldquoComedy.&rdquo According to Vatican archives, the Polish ambassador Lev Sapeg was sent on a special mission to find the lost library in 1601. More than 400 years later, the search is still ongoing.

    It is believed that the library was first owned by Byzantine Emperors who had accumulated the collection over several centuries. After the fall of Constantinople, the books went to Rome and eventually ended up in Moscow as the dowry of Byzantine czarina Sofia Paleolog. The czarina has been sent to marry Ivan III, Ivan the Terrible&rsquos predecessor. There are more than 60 accounts of the library's location, but three are most probable: the underground passages in the city of Vologda &ndash Ivan the Terrible's northern residence the Alexander Suburb the Moscow Kremlin or the Kolomenskoye Estate in Moscow&rsquos suburbs).

    What to look for: 800 volumes of rare Byzantine books.

    Where to look: Moscow, Vologda or Alexandrov.

    The treasure accumulated by the infamous Cossack Stenka Razin (Stepan Razin) is said to be hidden in a barrow near the village of Peskovatka, in what is now the Gorodischensk region. Razin was the leader of the largest uprising in pre-Petrine Russia. Legend has it that, before he died, Razin filled a longboat with gold and silver and rowed it toward the village at high tide. After the water had subsided, he buried the treasure-filled boat and planted a willow on the mound to mark the spot. After Razin was caught, the czar&rsquos detectives had no one to help them locate the &ldquowillow stash,&rdquo and no amount of torture would make the Cossack disclose the secret himself. Since then, local residents and visitors have dug up a number of mounds in Peskovatka and uprooted hundreds of willows, but Razin&rsquos stash remains intact.

    What to look for: Gold and silver coins from the 17th century.

    Where to look: The hamlet of Peskovatska, Gorodischensky District, Volgograd Region.

    Czar Nicholas II may have relinquished the throne, but he remained the richest man of his time. When he was exiled to Tobolsk, the Romanov ruler was allowed to take some of the family treasures with him. However, upon reaching Tobolsk and sensing the tragic fate that was to befall him, the czar divided the treasure three ways and entrusted it to his loyal servants. The valuables were then taken out of the Tobolsk governor&rsquos house where the czar and his family were being held and hidden in a safe place.

    Later on, KGB servicemen discovered part of the Romanov treasure and confiscated two stashes. These collections contained 197 items that held a combined value of three million rubles ($96,000). The Soviets later used these valuables to buy supplies for Russia.

    The third stash has yet to be found. It was rumored that the czar's security guard, Kobylinsky, gave some of the treasures (including the family&rsquos gold swords, the emperor&rsquos daggers, and the empress&rsquos ornament cabinet) to Omsk resident Konstantin Pechakos. The secret police also got wind of this account. Konstantin Pechakos and his wife were found and tortured, but their lips were sealed. Pechakos never denied that he had hidden the treasure. However, since he had given his word to the emperor &ndash and therefore to God &ndash Pechakos would not reveal the location of the Romanov valuables.

    The authorities searched every inch of Pechakos's house, but nothing was ever found.

    What to look for: A cabinet with Empress Alexandra Romanova&rsquos ornaments, the family ceremonial swords and Emperor Nicholas Romanov&rsquos daggers.

    Where to look: Konstantin Pechakos's house, Omsk, Siberia.

    The crown of Yemelyan Pugachev has never stopped inspiring treasure hunters. Pugachev was a pretender to the Russian throne who passed himself off as Czar Peter III in the Time of Troubles. According to local legend, Pugachev hid his splendid diamond-encrusted crown in a barrow near Pugachevskaya station, in the Kotelnikovsky district of the Volgagrad region. Pugachev wore this crown when he posed as Czar Peter III to rally troops for his march on Moscow.

    Pugachev and his peasant army raided aristocrats&rsquo houses all the way to Moscow, burying their loot before moving on. The fact that Pugachev's troops were often attacked suggests that they were carrying considerable riches. In his advance, Pugachev attracted thousands of troops &ndash part of the treasure was most likely used to draft in soldiers.

    What to look for: A gold crown encrusted with diamonds.

    Where to look: Kotelnikovsky district, Volgograd Region.

    Pearl Harbor Shipwreck Reveals World War II Treasures

    WATCH: New footage reveals remarkable preservation inside sunken battleship.

    At Pearl Harbor, history is begetting history—again.

    Earlier this week, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe joined President Obama at the World War II Valor in the Pacific National Monument—the latest step in a decades-long shift from postwar acrimony to forgiveness.

    At the same time, 40 feet beneath the waves, the U.S.S. Arizona is giving up some of its 75-year-old secrets.

    Sunk on December 7, 1941 by Japanese warplanes—during a surprise attack that plunged the United States into World War II and altered world history—the 608-foot-long battleship is one of the most studied shipwrecks in the world. In the 1980s, it was initially mapped in the early 2000s, its condition and lifespan were analyzed. Yet exploration of the ship’s interior has long been limited, in large part by the available technology.

    Until now. Last week, a team of divers and photographers completed 10 days of work in the turbid waters of Pearl Harbor. The team—including National Park Service (NPS) archaeologists and National Geographic photographers—used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) called “11th Hour” to document portions of the Arizona for the first time.

    Custom built by Marine Imaging Technologies and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the ROV took video, gathered scientific data—measuring levels of dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, and more—and collected oil, sediment, and microbiological samples, all of which will be analyzed at a Harvard University lab over the next several months.

    Brett Seymour, deputy chief and photographer of the NPS’s Submerged Resources Center (SRC), says extremely low levels of dissolved oxygen in the water, plus a protective shroud of marine life, have helped preserve the ship and its contents.

    “Most of the water in Pearl Harbor is more than 80 percent dissolved oxygen, which would quickly corrode a ship," Seymour says. "But as we went lower and lower on the Arizona, the dissolved oxygen levels kept decreasing—drastically. By the time we reached some of the cabins on the third deck, it was just 4 percent.

    “We’d always suspected that,” he adds. “But now we have the data to prove why the Arizona is so well-preserved—and the science to understand why it’s still there.”

    Navigating the ROV, Seymour says, involved a remarkable process of discovery.

    2. Skeleton Canyon

    A low level aerial photograph of the entrance to Skeleton Canyon in the Peloncillo Mountains, 2009.

    BAlvarius/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

    At the Arizona-New Mexico border lies the Peloncillo Mountains, which is home to the infamous 1,000-mile Skeleton Canyon. During the 19th century, the Canyon was known to be a place where smugglers would hide their riches and where bandits were on the prowl trying to steal it from them. 

    Legend has it, in the late 1880s, a group of bandits successfully raided the Mexican city of Monterrey and carried off a treasure trove of silver and gold, diamonds, statues and Catholic vestiges. 

    Heavily hunted by authorities, the bandits allegedly hid the loot in the Canyon. Other accounts say the bandits were ambushed by American outlaws who then stashed it in some kind of underground cavern. Either way, according the HISTORY&aposs "Lost Treasures," it&aposs believed that the cache of loot lies buried somewhere in the canyon. Several treasure hunters have tried to locate the so-called Skeleton Canyon Treasure but have so far been unsuccessful. 

    The Bom Jesus: Namibia’s ancient shipwreck thought to be the most significant ever

    IT IS every archaeologists dream — the discovery of a missing ship which disappeared more than 500 years ago with a treasure chest of gold on-board.

    A mine worker discovered sparkling artefacts in the soil which was the ship wreck dated between 1525 and 1538. Courtesy: CNN.

    A mine worker discovered sparkling artefacts in the soil which was the ship wreck dated between 1525 and 1538. Courtesy: CNN

    The mint gold coins found among the Namibia shipwreck. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    IT IS every archaeologist’s dream — the discovery of a missing ship which disappeared more than 500 years ago with a treasure chest of gold on-board.

    Not only did the discovery of the resting place of TheBom Jesus solve one of the biggest maritime mysteries, but for chief archeologist Dieter Noli, it was a history-changing find.

    The South African-based scientist told he knew when he received a call revealing an usual find along the African desert coastline it would be for something special.

    But not even he knew at the time how big that find would be.

    A mine worker with some of the coins found during the excavation. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    A ship which had disappeared on its way to India laden with gold in 1533 had vanished, its fate and that of her crew unknown.

    Fast forward 500 years and that mystery was closer to being solved when a group of miners hunting diamonds off the Namibian dessert stumbled across some strange objects.

    The discovery and what it uncovered continues to captivate with talks now in place for the site to be opened up into a museum featuring what remains of the shipwreck that had been buried under the sand for half a millennia.

    ONE TIME WEB USE ONLY - NO PRINT - Namibia shipwreck images supplied. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    When miners stumbled across some unusual finds in their hunt for diamonds in April 2008, they knew they had found metal, wood and pipes.

    Unsure of what they were dealing with, the company they worked for, Namdeb Diamond Corporation, called in Dr Noli who instantly knew it was a shipwreck.

    Dr Noli, the chief archeologist of the southern Africa Institute of Maritime Archaeological Research, said the coastline was notorious for storms so finding a shipwreck was hardly surprising.

    However, it was a week into the excavation that a treasure chest laden with gold was found, with the coins indicating it had come from a Portuguese ship which had disappeared in 1533.

    Some rosary beads and a silver Portuguese coin. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    “It adds new meaning to the concept of the ship having being loaded with gold,” Dr Noli said.

    Further investigation revealed the discovery of bronze bowls, and long metal poles later found to be canons.

    Dr Noli’s team also found a musket which he estimated to be at least 500 years old and bits of metal revealed a shipwreck was buried in the sand.

    The miners who were now working on the site also found compasses, swords, astrological tools, canons and even a time capsule.

    ONE TIME WEB USE ONLY - NO PRINT - Namibia shipwreck images supplied. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    Dr Noli then contacted Bruno Werz, a marine archeologist who told CNN it was a dream come true to work on a ship from just after the age of exploration.

    He also said it was crucially important from world heritage perspective to find a shipwreck which contained material from three continents.

    “You can’t describe the feeling of seeing this material and realising how important it is,” he told the broadcaster in an earlier interview.

    He also said the large amounts of copper at the site helped preserve a lot of the objects, its weight preventing a lot of it from washing away.

    However the ship was 𠇎xtremely badly battered” by the sea, with little of the original structure of left.

    Anchors were also uncovered during the excavation. Picture: Dieter Noli Source:Supplied

    A week into the dig, the team found gold coins. a lot of them.

    The centuries old coins were in mint condition which Dr Noli believes is down to the ship breaking on rocks, tipping over and the chest with coins inside being buried under the superstructure.

    It was these very coins which gave Dr Noli and his team a massive clue.

    Within 45 minutes of finding the first gold coin, they had unearthed around 11kg of the treasure, Dr Noli told CNN.

    Dated between 1525-38 and in perfect condition, it meant the ship would have had to have set sail during that time.

    It also served as proof that the find was the oldest ever shipwreck found in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Thousands of Portuguese and Spanish gold coins, Portuguese silver coins, bronze cannons, tonnes of copper ingots, more than 50 elephant tusks, as well as navigational instruments were uncovered.

    Dr Noli said more than 2000 gold coins were found in addition to five anchors, three navigational dividers and part of a ship’s compass.

    Pewter tableware, copper cooking utensils, swords and muskets were also found.

    Only a small part of the structural remains of the ship was uncovered.

    Some 5438 artefacts of cultural, scientific and intrinsic value were discovered in total.

    The Namibian coastline, some 18km north of the Orange River mouth, is renowned for its high number of storms and treacherous seas.

    The area where the ship was found was called Sperrgebiet, or 𠇏orbidden territory,” after the hundreds of German prospectors who ventured to the region in search for diamonds.

    Diamond company DeBeers and the Namibian government still run a joint operation in the area, according to CNN and the area remains largely out of sight.

    The remains of the shipwreck remain protected by mining security with limited numbers allowed onto the site.

    An idea for a museum has been floated but it remains to be seen whether it will occur.

    Watch the video: The Lost Treasures Of the Deep Full Documentary (August 2022).