Listen to Article2-Minute Listen
Imagine cruising along the coast of Africa, in a ship laden with gold coins, copper ingots (nuggets) and elephant tusks and armed with cannons to fight off enemies. This, is the picture emerging from all the artifacts in a 500-year old shipwreck discovered off the coast of Namibia in South Africa.
Archeologists Dieter Noli and Bruno Werz are still trying to piece together the details, but they believe the ship sank in the late 1400's to early 1500, an era when Vasco da Gama and Christopher Columbus were discovering new "Worlds".
With only rudimentary navigational tools to guide them, they believe the ship arrived in the area accidentally and was hit by the severe weather that is prevalant in this area.The age of the ship and it's heavy cargo may also have added to its demise.
Noli and Werz are are not sure who the ship belonged to. The fact that elephant tusks were found indicates that it was on official business, since only royal families were allowed to trade. However, because the ship still had so many gold coins, Noli thinks it could have been a pirate ship.
Another mystery is the ship's origin. Nori and Werz think it's either Spain or Portugal and are looking through old history records to see if it is mentioned anywhere.
It will take months or even a few years to piece the whole story but this find is extremely important, as there have been very few finds from this period when explorers like Christopher Columbus were venturing far in search of new lands.
Sources: IHT, Fox News, Google News