West on the Santa Margarita Site...

July 20, 2017

The Sea Reaper recently returned from another trip to the Santa Margarita site. The crew continued excavations in a main area of focus to the west of the known shipwreck scatter where they’ve concentrated recent efforts and made important recoveries this season.

Historic research tells us that a second hurricane may have pushed wreckage material to the west shortly after the Santa Margarita sank. Also, archival documents state that early Spanish salvors had made efforts to recover the cargo of the treasure galleon shortly after it’s sinking, and that they had located two piles—one to the west consisting of ballast stones and silver bars, which quickly became buried too deep in sand for the early salvors to reach. Part of MRR’s Operational Plan is to continue exploratory excavations in search of this missing section. On this trip, the crew recovered iron wreck material from the western area which appear to be rigging components and possible cannon-related material.

Recent Margarita recoveries, including a silver coin and two stone artifacts.

The crew also excavated in a second area closer to the main wreck scatter which they recently titled the “silver coin line.” The crew has recovered several silver coins from this area since September 2016, and the coordinates of these recoveries all follow a distinct NNW line. While continuing excavations along this line, the team recovered another silver 8 reale.

Missy recovers a silver 8 reale coin.

Other unique artifacts recovered on this trip include a rectangular green stone that is possibly jade, and another unidentified stone. Both of these pieces are at the Motivation Inc. laboratory awaiting assessment by conservator John Corcoran.

MRR is grateful for the opportunity to be contracted by Motivation, Inc. to work on the site of the Santa Margarita and looks forward to learning from the pieces of history that can be discovered during future work on the site.

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