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FABULOUS TREASURES THAT REMAIN TO BE DISCOVERED by Adrian Darmon
21 October 2011
Category : Focus

Dozens of treasures worth billions of dollars remain to be found in sunken ships and hidden places in many parts of the world, a fabulous prospect for searchers who nevertheless must have huge financial means to recover them, signalled Erick Surcouf, a descendant of the famous  corsair Robert Surcouf who died in 1827, in his book titled “Terrestrial and underwater  treasures” (Arthaud Edition) published in France in October 2011.

There are at least twenty fabulous hoards to recover, notably the late 18th Century treasure of the Marquesas Islands, which include numerous Inca objects and coins in gold as well as precious stones, the 1850 treasure of the Tuanake Islands comprising 17 tons of gold and jewels, the 1605 treasure of the Swan Island (Honduras) which contains 550 silver bars, 280 000 silver coins, 37 gold bars weighing 5 kilos each, 350 two kilo gold ingots, 52 precious stones and 3 impressive gold chains, the 1502 shipwreck of the Bodadilla galleon near Santo Domingo which contains huge quantities of gold, the 1563 treasure of the Dominica Island filled with silver ingots, the 19th Century treasure of the Cocos Island (Costa Rica), a hoard amassed by several pirates around 1821 comprising numerous precious stones, including 31 diamonds, 860 rubies, 124 swords, 64 daggers, 22 gold candelabras decorated with rubies and 2 life-size gold statues of the Virgin with the Infant Child inlaid with thousands of precious stones, the 1708 shipwreck of the San Jose vessel (Columbia) which contains 116 chests filled with emeralds and between 7 and 12 million pesos in gold and silver, the incredible 1533 treasure of the Emperor Atahualpa (Peru) made of 690 tons of pure gold, an imbelievable gold chain with surrounded the town of Cuzco, a gigantic polished gold sun inlaid with emeralds and other precious stones, a 18 meter diameter gold roundel as well as a 11 meter long gold chain, the 1533 treasure of Pachacamac (Peru) comprising tons of gold and silver pieces, the 1751 shipwreck of the Cesares vessel (Chile) containing 5 tons of massive gold temple plaques, the shipwreck of the Florencia containing gold, jewels and coins, the 1702 Bay of Vigo (Spain) treasure which includes massive quantities of gold and silver, the 1594 shipwreck of the Cinque Chagas galleon ((Azores) which carried chests filled with gold, silver, rubies, pearls and diamonds, the 1787 shipwreck of the Hartwell vessel, which contains six tons of silver and quantities of jewels, the 1893 treasure of Lobenguela (Mozambique) comprising gold coins, diamonds and ivory pieces, the 1681 shipwreck of the “Soleil d'Orient” frigate (Madagascar) which carried 60 chests of gifts made by the king of Siam to King Louis 14th, the Pope and French princes filled with gold and silver objects as well as porcelain pieces from China and Japan, the 1721 treasure of Olivier le Vasseur nicknamed “The Buzzard” (Seychelles Islands) comprising quantities of diamonds, rubies, emeralds, shapphires, pearls, jewels, gold and silver bars as well as sacred vases, the 1799 treasure of Bernardin Nageon de l'Estang (Mauritius) which contains gold coins and ingots as well as diamonds, the 1511 shipwreck of the “Flor de Mar” galleon (Indonesia) filled with 200 tons of gold, 200 chests filled with diamonds, a table with massive gold feet, the throne of the queen of Malacca inlaid with precious stones as well as 4 massive gold lions, the teeth and claws inlaid with precious stones and the 1866 shipwreck of the “General Grant” vessel (New Zealand) comprising 9 tons of gold.

Finding these fabulous treasures is however a task reserved for hunters who must have important financial means at their disposal such as the Odyssey American group which announced on October 10, 2011 that it discovered the shipwreck of a British vessel sunk in 1917 in the Atlantic sea with 18 tons of silver. Last September, the same company announced that it had identified off the coast of Ireland a British cargo ship sunk in 1941 with 220 tons of silver ingots on board.

Erick Surcouf decided at 32 to become a treasure hunter. Since then he has discovered almost a dozen shipwrecks after sifting extensively through many documents regarding lost ships in many libraries throughout Europe.

He pointed out that the treasures he listed in his book were not so difficult to discover, the main problem being to have the means to do so and to obtain the necessary authorizations from the countries concerned. He added that only a dozen international groups were able to search for these treasures with help of numerous searchers, engineers or divers.

His first discovery was the shipwreck of the pirate vessel of the famous Captain Henry Morgan in 1980 off Haiti which was laying on the seabed and from where he recovered the fork of the latter, a whistle, several swords as well as guns. He added that his main dream was to find the shipwreck of the “Soleil d'Orient” off the East coast of Madagascar, which he is now sure to have located.
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