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Treasure hunters recover artifacts, gold from 17th century shipwreck
By ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published June 15, 2007
KEY WEST - Gold and other 17th century artifacts that treasure salvagers say they recovered from a shipwrecked Spanish galleon off Key West and estimated to be worth more than a million dollars were brought ashore Thursday.
A gold bar, eight gold chains and 11 ornate gold pieces were among the pieces divers from Blue Water Ventures said they found this week.
Duncan Mathewson, a marine archaeologist and partner in Blue Water Ventures, said the artifacts are from the Spanish galleon Santa Margarita that sank in a 1622 storm. The treasures were found in nearly 18 feet of water about 40 miles west of Key West, Mathewson said.
"We're following the road to the treasure, " Mathewson said. "We're on the trail, right smack where we need to be."
An initial cache of treasure and artifacts from the Santa Margarita was discovered in 1980 by the late treasure-hunting pioneer Mel Fisher. Blue Water Ventures has been searching for the remainder of the Margarita wreck for two years under a joint-venture agreement with Mel Fisher's Treasures, now headed by Fisher's son, Kim Fisher.
The artifacts and treasure were taken to Fisher's Key West headquarters for cataloging and conservation.
Mathewson estimates more than $150-million worth of artifacts and treasure from the Santa Margarita remain to be recovered.