After months filled with research, digging, and testing, experts eventually found a remnant of the past that they thought was lost forever. It is certainly enjoyable as to how a lot of history unfolds thanks to the discovery of one mysterious rock, eventually leading to an unbelievable treasure hunt. What was it about this rock that was fascinating? Keep on reading this article to find out what is so special about this rock.
The Forbidden Territory
A German prospector had arrived in the Namibian desert in 1908, in which he found diamonds in the area. After a while, the place was later called “The Forbidden Territory.” Thanks to the discovery of diamonds there, the position was later filled with a lot more Germans trying to look for diamonds there. Unbeknownst to them, the desert was hiding a much more valuable treasure than the diamond. What started as a search for diamonds later led to the discovery of the century.
A Lost Ship
People were unaware of the fact that during the 16th century, a particular ship sailed there but unfortunately, its trace was forever lost until almost 500 years later. Because of the diamonds that other people have found there, archaeologists realized that the place is their once in a lifetime opportunity, which is why they immediately rushed to the Forbidden Zone as fast as they could. They had no clue that they would be looking at the most valuable shipwreck in the world.
An Ancient Treasure
Fast forward to modern times, the so-called “Forbidden Territory” is currently being mined by DeBeers and the Namibian government in a joint operation. But hidden to the German’s knowledge, the place was hiding an ancient treasure. They went there in hopes of finding diamonds, but they surely were not expecting to find something else much more valuable than that. How long will it take them to find the said treasure?
They Found Mercury
Aside from the mysterious rocks and pipes, the miners were led to call the experts as they found small amounts of mercury. After figuring out why they found mercury there, they later realized that it was used as a treatment for diseases 500 years ago. For them, it was like looking back in time, and the crew knew that they have to call the archaeologists for them to take over the job. They stopped mining for diamonds and started mining for pieces of history that were thought to be lost.
A Perfect Round Half Of A Ship
A century after the discovery of the Forbidden Zone’s diamonds, the miners who were initially looking for diamonds struck something that was lost from the face of the world for over five hundred years. Thinking that he found a perfectly round half of a sphere, the company’s geologist in the area picked up the seemingly perfect round half of a sphere and thought to himself, “Could nature create something like this?” It was highly unlikely.
It Was A Copper Ingot
After a thorough look, the man later realized what he was looking at. It was a copper ingot! After a while, he and his colleagues eventually found more of these copper ingots, with all of them having an identical strange trident-shaped mark. However, there is more to come as they are about to discover more treasure that they did not expect to find when they started this expedition.
All A Part Of A Shipwreck
They first realized that they were dealing with ancient treasure when they found the copper ingot. As the digging went on, the geologists started to find a lot more ingots, which led them to realize that they were all a part of a shipwreck! Because of this, the archaeologists now stepped in, and as they started their work in the Forbidden Zone, they were unable to comprehend how lucky and fortunate they are to be a part of this incredible discovery.
The Ingots Were Used For Trading
The experts believe that the ingots that they discovered were used at the beginning of the 16th century for trading spices in the indies. However, they had a lot of questions in mind, and what boggled them is what these ingots are doing in the middle of the desert. After a while, they came up with an answer that blew everyone’s minds. What could it possibly be? Let’s find out.
Anton Fugger’s Trident Shaped Symbol
After studying the copper ingots that they found, the miners who discovered were told that the trident-shaped symbols that were found in the ingot were the symbol of Anton Fugger, one of the wealthiest financiers from Renaissance Europe. But it does not stop there; the mystery was only getting deeper. Alongside the archaeology team, the miners and the archaeologists continued digging as they looked for more treasures and answers.
They Had No Clue Of What They Would Find
The miners had no clue that the sands would be hiding, not just diamonds, but other valuables too, which is why they used bulldozers on the area. Thanks to this, lots of discoveries started to pile up for the team of geologists, miners, and archaeologists. They had no idea that what they are about to find out, will be much more significant than what they initially thought it would be.
Valuable Pieces Of History
After a bit of digging, the team eventually found pieces of wood, pipes, metal, and even tools that were used on the ship. The team was amazed by the valuable pieces of history that they found. Dr. Dieter Noli later received a call from the Namdeb Diamond Corporation on the same day, the type of call that would make any archaeologist very happy on top of the joy they get from a discovery.
They Were Not Expecting This
According to the chief archaeologist, Dr. Dieter Noli, the place looked like a disturbed beach, but lying on it were bits and pieces. According to him, when he got to the place, his first thought was that the place was a shipwreck. But what made this ship a lot more valuable than other ships? Well, they found a lot more treasure that they were not expecting to find since they started this trip.
The Lost Ship?
Can you see the small doodled ship on the bottom left? A ship from a fleet was believed to have sunk, but no one knew where it was lost nor what happened to the crew. Was this the ship that they were looking for? The records state that this ship held a lot of valuable treasure. With that in mind, the crew started to look for more clues about this ship.
The Half Millenia Loot
Imagine all the loot, the treasures, all packed with gems from a sunken vessel being swept ashore at sea! Dr. Dieter Noli and his team began their work and discovered a musket and elephant tusks that were 500 years old. But that was just the beginning! They discovered a lot more than that! What else did the team discover from this expedition? Let us find out what else the team discovered!
A Special Shipwreck
The team believes that the discovery of this ship is a special one as it is known to be the oldest shipwreck that could be found on the sub-Saharan African coast as well as the most significant shipwreck that has ever been discovered. The miners started to help once more on the site, uncovering a lot of valuable treasures such as astrological tools, compasses, swords, canons, and a time capsule. But then, they found something else.
The Fabled Bom Jesus
Sometime around the time when this vessel got stuck on the African coast, a Portuguese ship headed to India was not seen to have made its way beyond the Southern Atlantic. The ship was named “The Bom Jesus,” which stood for “The Good Jesus.” Ever wondered what may be the significance of this ship? This ship may be the lost one, and what they found there could be the reason for its importance.
Memorandum Of The Fleets
According to the rare 16th-century book called “Memorias das Armadas” (Memorandum of the Fleets), The Bom Jesus had a cargo filled with gold and other valuable items. According to historians, the ship can be dated from around 1525 to 1538, and the only other thing that they knew about this ship is that it was lost. However, could the ship that the team discovered be the Bom Jesus?
Transported To Laboratories
Thanks to the incredible crew who handled the project, the shipwreck’s secrets will now be discovered as the relics would be safely loaded and transported to labs where their age would be tested. Archaeologist Bruno Werz made sure that the pieces of wood that they took would be safely placed in a tank of freshwater for preservation. His work was about to start, and he was surely ecstatic about it.
How Did It Sink?
Upon further examination of the evidence that could be found at the site, Dr. Noli and his team realized that they were, in fact, looking at The Bom Jesus’s remains! The studies that they have conducted finally gave light and explanation as to why The Bom Jesus may have sunk, eventually leading up to them discovering the treasures of The Bom Jesus! So, what made the fabled ship sink?
The Ship Hit A Rock
Dr. Dieter Noli explained in an interview the reason as to how the ship met its tragic fate. Heavy storms plunged the ship into a large rock, making it bend over and eventually break, taking a chest full of riches with it. Keep on reading to find out how good the team of archaeologists were to find the treasure that could have been easily washed to the bottom of the ocean!
The Loot-Filled Chest
Right on the bottom of the sea, A loot-filled chest dropped from the captain’s cabin. However, what helped the treasure stay there was the heavy part of the ship that fell right on top of it, protecting the chest from waves, which prevented it from being dragged down across the depths of the ocean. So what did the treasure chest contain? How valuable are the treasures that it kept? Let’s find out!
The Copper Ingot’s Weight
Marine archaeologist Bruno Werz explained that because of the 44,000 pounds of copper ingots, it was able to hold the chest down, which helped to keep the chest filled with gold, tin, and ivory to be set in place. According to the marine archaeologist: “If it hadn’t been for those copper ingots weighing everything down, there would be nothing left here to find.” The team is very fortunate to find this treasure!
A Few Feet Away From The Ocean
The team was able to excavate the whole shipwreck from a depth of 20 feet below sea level. The crew composed of miners and archaeologists were just a few feet away from the Atlantic Ocean, which was protected by a retaining wall! It truly is a miracle that they were able to find the lost ship and its treasures! However, the team’s work was far from over, and they have a lot more work to do!
The Ship Could Have Washed Away
The ocean in that area of the Forbidden Zone was filled with strong storms that could have easily washed away the entire shipwreck 500 years ago thanks to the waves that it produced. A question still comes to mind. What happens now? What will happen to the relics that were discovered by the team? Will they be kept in a museum? Preserved? Studied? Let us see what they are planning to do with the said relics.
An Opportunity To Learn
According to Francisco Alves, the doyen of Portuguese maritime archaeologists and is also known to be the head of nautical archaeology (under the Ministry of Culture), the discovery of the fabled ship allowed them to learn more about the lost history and gave them the chance to learn more about the great old ships. Thanks to the discovery that was found in the Forbidden Zone, they could finally learn a lot more about their country’s past.
In Safe Hands
According to the team, the discovery of this ship is only the second one that was excavated by a team of archaeologist as all the other ships have already been plundered by various groups of treasure hunters, which is one of the reasons as to why the discovery of this shipwreck is regarded to be very special, for not only did they discover a famous ship, it is also untouched! The Bom Jesus is definitely in safe hands! How so?
Considering the fact the shipwreck was discovered on the coast of Sperrgebiet, no treasure hunter would even consider getting close to the precious remains due to how heavily guarded the area is. It would be too risky for them even to attempt to get near the area. If they manage to reach the area, they may not even be able to take the items out. But it does not stop there!
Survivors Of The Shipwreck
The team of archaeologists is still conducting a study as to whether there were survivors of the shipwreck or not as they look for more records of Portuguese men in Namibia. It somehow seems ironic that the ship went on a journey to find treasure, only to end up shipwreck on a coast filled with diamonds that are waiting to be discovered by people. But it can’t be denied that the ship is an even more valuable treasure than the minerals.
Thanks to the discovery of the ship, De Beers and the Namibian government officials have now stopped any work relating to finding diamonds around the Forbidden Zone. They are now focusing on finding clues around the wreck site for them to learn more about the lost history of the ship. The joint force of De Beers and the Namibian government will help in finding more clues about what else may have happened there.
The Diamond Shipwreck
The shipwreck was then named as the “Diamond Shipwreck” due to their objective in the area being mining of diamonds but eventually ending up with discovering a shipwreck. Thanks to the materials found on the shipwreck, It will take researchers years to study everything and learn more about the architecture, rigging, and evolution of Portuguese trading vessels. It will only be a matter of time until we uncover what truly happened back then.
Their Everyday Items
Even though the shipwreck contained a lot of gold and ivory, basic everyday items such as cooking items and sailing tools will help the researchers to discover more about the ship crew’s routine as they were traveling the high seas, and discover what the people carried during their long journeys like the one that the fabled “Bom Jesus” ship made that never got to its destination. We can’t wait to learn about what they’ll find out.