Possible wreck of Columbus ship claimed off Haiti
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — An underwater explorer said Tuesday that he may have found the long-sought wreckage of one of Christopher Columbus' original ships off northern Haiti, but the find is far from confirmed.
Barry Clifford said evidence, including what appears to be a 15th century cannon and ballast stones that look like they came from Spain or Portugal, suggests that what remains of the Santa Maria is in relatively shallow waters at a site he declined to disclose for security reasons.
“The circumstantial evidence is overwhelming,” Clifford said in a phone interview from his home in Provincetown, Mass.
He said that he and his son, Brandon, first explored the site and took photos in 2003. They decided to publicize their findings after a follow-up dive and examination of the photos led them to conclude they may have found the Santa Maria, which ran aground in December 1492 during Columbus' initial voyage. The cannon that they saw in 2003 was gone when they returned to the dive site last week.
Clifford, known for discovering a pirate ship off Cape Cod in 1984, said he has met with Haitian government officials to preserve the site so a full archaeological exploration can be conducted.
There are reasons to be skeptical that this is indeed the Santa Maria, said Kevin Crisman, director of the Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation at Texas A&M University.
Crisman said many Spanish ships sunk off Haiti and the neighboring Dominican Republic, and it will be difficult to confirm that this is the Santa Maria. The ship sank slowly in 1492 and the crew had time to remove valuable items, such as a cannon that would help document the identity of the vessel.
“If whoever finds the Santa Maria can confirm that it's the Santa Maria, that's kind of like the Holy Grail,” Crisman said. “It would be very exciting, but I remain skeptical because people make claims all the time.”
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- ‘Early Mona Lisa’ painting traced to English noble
- Kurds bring fight to Islamic State in contested Iraqi town
- Pakistan fervent about anti-blasphemy law
- How are migrants sneaking into the EU? Through Hungary
- Arrests made in Pakistan school massacre
- 2 ISIS leaders dead in airstrikes, U.S. says
- No movement yet on Afghan cabinet
- Lay off, Turkey’s President Erdogan tells his European Union critics
- 15,000 ‘pinstriped Nazis’ march in Dresden to protest Islamic extremism
- Kurdish Iraqi forces battle ISIS to try to clear way to Syrian border
- Canadian woman who helped ducks gets prison in fatal crash