Marine archaeologists say they’ve located the wreck of the nau Esmeralda, a Portuguese ship that was part of explorer Vasco da Gama's second voyage to India (the explorer is pictured here). More than 500 years ago, the ship was destroyed in a storm, killing the crew and the commander, da Gama's uncle, Vicente Sodré.
Vasco da Gama's uncle, Vicente Sodré, ignored advice from the locals about impending strong winds. His ship, which was part of five-vessel squadron, became unmoored and sank in a bay, on an island off the coast of present-day Oman.
The Search Begins
In 1998, shipwreck hunter David Mearns went looking for the wreck around Ghubbat ar Rahib bay, off the northeastern coast of Al Hallaniyah island in Oman (shown here), and found several cannonballs on the seabed.
More than a decade after Mearns’ first exploration, more thorough archaeological investigations began at the underwater site in 2013.
Sunken Treasures Found
The team turned up hundreds of artifacts that hint that they’ve found the lost Portuguese ship. Shown here is a copper alloy disk, marked with the Portuguese royal coat of arms.
Cannonballs from the Seabed
Geological analyses of stone shot found at the shipwreck showed that many were made of limestone one would expect to find in the Lisbon region of Portugal.
A Legendary Rare Coin
This CT scan shows the índio, an extremely rare Portuguese coin that was commissioned by King Dom Manuel in 1499 for trade with India. Mearns called it a "remarkable discovery."
Until it was raised by marine archaeologists, this ship's bell had been hidden beneath an underwater boulder for centuries.
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