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31 December, 2008 - Published 16:33 GMT
Spanish galleon unearthed in Buenos Aires
Building workers in Buenos Aires have discovered the remains of an eighteenth century Spanish galleon. Archaeologists in Argentina are calling it one of the most important finds ever made in the country. Daniel Schweimler reports from Buenos Aires:
The foundations were being dug for a luxury apartment block being built in the renovated port area of Buenos Aires when workers struck oil - olive oil. Or at least eight ceramic jars which in the eighteenth century were used to transport olive oil to the Spanish colonies in Latin America.
Archaeologists were called and together they uncovered four cannons, timbers from the ship's hull and evidence that the vessel was probably sent to trade in leather. Archaeologist Marcelo Weissel said the discovery was unique in Argentina.
Work is now underway on finding out more. Early indications are that the ship sank in about seventeen-fifty. The mayor of Buenos Aires, Mauricio Macri, said the construction company and archaeologists would work together on what looks like being a great treasure for the whole city.
Towards the end of the eighteenth century Buenos Aires was becoming a major port city, as Spanish colonists began transporting silver from what is now southern Bolivia through the city to Europe. But the waters were often treacherous and pirates were rampant, leaving a trail of destruction waiting to be unearthed hundreds of years later.
Daniel Schweimler, BBC News, Buenos Aires
a luxury apartment block
a great treasure
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