Ancient anchors found in Veracruz

INAH archeologists have yet to determine if the anchors belonged to the lost ships of Hernán Cortés

16th century Spanish anchors found in Veracruz
A first anchor was discovered in 2018 - Jonathan Kingston/INAH
English 17/12/2019 19:44 Antonio Díaz Mexico City Actualizada 12:47
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Researchers from Mexico’s Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) found two iron anchors that could date from the 16th century; however, specialists have yet to determine if they belonged to Hernán Cortés’s ships.

The discovery was part of the second season of the project Subaquatic Archeology in Villa Rica. Both objects join the first anchor found in 2018, whose laboratory studies have shown that the wood of its stock belongs to a tree of Spain’s Cantabrian Coast, that was alive during the second half of the 15th century.

Did you know a 15th century anchor was found off the coast of Veracruz?


Roberto Junco, head of the Sub-directorate of Subaquatic Archeology (SAS), added that the two new anchors were found 300 meters north from the first one and are bigger than the first one: 2 meters long and 66cm between the arms.

The most voluminous one is 3.68 meters long and is 1.55 meters wide, while the other is 2.6 meters long and 1.43 meters wide.

Have you heard archeologists plumb the Gulf of Mexico in search of of Cortés' sunken ships?


In contrast to the object found in 2018, both anchors did not conserve their wooden stock. However, the tabs, two protuberances over the rod, are visible where the stock would adjust, and that are located in each arm, a typical characteristic of 16th-century anchors.

Did you know a Mexican arhceologist discovered a Renaissance shipwreck?

The subaquatic archeologists Christopher Horrell, Melanie Damour, and Frederick Hanselmann participated in the project.


The four archeologists agree that it cannot be determined yet if the anchors belong to Cortés’s vessels because after 1519 and up to the 19th century, the Villa Rica de la Veracruz, the second Spanish municipality in continental America – was a very active port for navigation.

Did you know INAH archeologists found a WWII submarine in Mexican coasts?


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