The secret treasure hidden in the ocean

A shipment of the 18th century full of jewels was found in Yucatán waters
The secret treasure hidden in the ocean
Aerial view of view of the Yucatán Peninsual – Photo: AP/Mexico Tourism Board
Mexico City
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For centuries, the waters of the Mexican Caribbean kept hidden a shipment full of jewels that never reached its destiny after the merchant vessel they were being transported in sank in the Yucatán shoreline.

The pieces were found three years ago by Roberto Junco, a researcher of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH), who considered his finding was “serendipity.”

The head of the Department of Underwater Archeology (SAS) of the INAH detailed in a statement that the jewels were found by accident in 2014, thanks to the signals issued by a portable magnetometer.

The “booty” includes 321 gold pieces in total, among which several objects have been found, such as belt buckles, pendants, tooth pickers, and gold rings inlaid with precious stones such as amethysts, pink coral, and emeralds – some of which are believed to come from Colombia.

(Jewels found at the bottom of the ocean – Photo: Courtesy of the INAH)

According to the document, it is believed that some of the jewels could have been made in Oaxaca and their destination might have been Spain.

Yet beyond the material value of the pieces, Junco said the finding has provided information on certain aspects of the Hispanic society of the 18th century, such as the intense trade between the Spanish colonies.

He added that the importance of the finding was that it wasn't made by treasure hunters but by underwater archaeologists.

“After all, the underwater cultural heritage belongs to us all,” said the researcher.


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