Treasure Found on the Galley Line
MRR captain Dan Porter and the crew of the Sea Reaper returned to the site of the Santa Margarita last week. MRR is glad to be working as a contractor with the famed Motivation, Inc., permit holder of the Santa Margarita and Atocha sites.
On this trip, the crew's plan was to expand the search area and identify new clues that would guide the hunt for a missing section of the Santa Margarita which is holding nearly 80,000 silver pieces of eight. Approximately 22 chests of coins are presumed to be missing from the ship’s manifest.
The trip started by excavating along the main shipwreck dispersal trail far to the north. Nearly eight years prior, Dan Porter and Mike Perna conducted a magnetometer survey in the northern area and located a broken anchor shank and ring. Little excavation work has been done around the area after the immediate location of the anchor shank. The team spent a full day excavating the area on this trip, though no recoveries were made. This area needs a lot more work and as the team refines a methodical plan for the northern section of the site, the search will continue.
This data map of the Margarita site shows the Galley Line and easternmost
silver coin recovery in relation to the main scatter of the wreck site.
The Sea Reaper worked a second area on this trip, far to the east of the known scatter by nearly 1000 ft. Over the last two years, MRR has developed a trail along the eastern side of the known scatter which the team calls the Galley Line. Divers have recovered four three-legged iron pots and a scatter of other material including an iron key, a sword handle, olive jar sherds, spikes and ship's fittings along the Galley Line. On this trip, some new and exciting recoveries changed team members' thoughts on this trail. Levin Shavers found the first silver coin recovered far to the east, and shortly after, Rob Hill recovered four large musket balls from the same area. Divers also recovered six pieces of lead sheathing (material from the bottom of the Margarita’s hull) and a ballast stone.
A closer view shows the recent silver coin recovery (blue)
nearly 1000 ft. east of the known wreck scatter.
This type of material gives clues about where more cargo may be resting. The silver coin, musket balls and the ballast stone are artifacts that are not influenced by weather conditions and will not move along the seafloor in storms that have happened since the day the margarita was driven into the shallow sand bar where it was broken into pieces. MRR is focused on finding the section of the Margarita carrying the 22 missing chests of coins.