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Irish archaeologists say Spanish Armada wreck found

Saturday, 6 August 2011 - 12:41pm IST | Place: Dublin | Agency: IANS
In the course of a dive survey conducted last year, evidence was found that indicated the wreck was possibly part of the 1588 Spanish Armada.

Underwater archaeologists in Ireland believe they may have discovered a sunken 16th century Spanish Armada vessel off the north coast.

In the course of a dive survey conducted last year, evidence was found that indicated the wreck was possibly part of the 1588 Spanish Armada, Xinhua reported.

Between 17 to 24 ships of the Grand Armada were lost near the Irish coast, accounting for about one-third of the fleet's total loss.

The location of the recently discovered wreck in relatively shallow water will give the archaeological team better access to the vessel and to artefacts that may still be on board.

The discovery of the Girona - the biggest ship in the fleet - in 1967 was one of the most important nautical archaeological finds of modern times.

The items salvaged from the wreck included cannons, cannon balls, coins, priceless jewellery, navigational equipment and a set of portrait cameos.

Jimmy Deenihan, Irish minister for arts, heritage and the Gaeltacht - the Irish speaking community - has announced funding of 50,000 euros for an excavation of the possible Spanish Armada wreck.

The minister said he was "delighted" to be able to support investigations into "a major find of significance not only to Ireland but also to the international archaeological, historical and maritime communities".

If, in fact, it proves to be an Armada vessel, Deenihan said it could constitute one of the most intact of the wrecks discovered till date.

"It could provide huge insight into life on board and the reality of the military and naval resources available to the Armada campaign," he added.

The Geological Survey of Ireland is supplying one of its research vessels, free of charge, as the main dive vessel.


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