Colombia to build museum to showcase shipwreck discovery

Sat Dec 5, 2015 11:25am EST
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By Julia Symmes Cobb

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will build a museum to showcase artifacts found in the wreckage of a Spanish galleon discovered near the historic Caribbean port city of Cartagena, President Juan Manuel Santos said on Saturday.

The San Jose, thought by historians to be laden with emeralds and precious coins, sank in 1708. It was part of the fleet of King Philip V, who fought the English during the War of Spanish Succession.

"We will build a great museum here in Cartagena," Santos said on national television from Cartagena's naval base.

"Without a doubt, without room for any doubt, we have found, 307 years after it sank, the San Jose galleon," Santos said.

A team of international experts, the Colombian navy and the country's archaeology institute discovered the wreck last week near the island of Baru, the president said.

Sonar images have so far revealed bronze cannons made specifically for the ship, arms, ceramics and other artifacts.

Some 600 people died in the shipwreck, Santos said.

Archaeological excavation and scientific tests on the wreck will continue to ensure it can be properly preserved, Santos said.   Continued...