Archaeologists find anchor where Hernán Cortés sank ships in the Gulf of Mexico


Archaeologists discovered an anchor of the fifteenth century in the area of ​​the Gulf of Mexico where the Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés sank his ships 500 years ago, but without evidence that relates to that episode, said the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Archaeologists discover the 15th century artifact in the Gulf of Mexico area. Image: courtesy of INAH
Archaeologists discover the 15th century artifact in the Gulf of Mexico area. Image: courtesy of INAH

"Analysis of laboratory-made to the stock of the anchor, indicate that its wood dates from that century and belongs to an endemic oak of the north of Spain", indicated the INAH in a bulletin on the found artifact in waters of the Villa Rica, in the state Mexican from Veracruz.

Despite the remarkable finding, experts warn that there is still no evidence to link the anchor with the ships sunk in 1519 by Hernán Cortés.

The finding was made in July 2018 by INAH experts with colleagues from the United States during the beginning of the work of the Underwater Archeology Project in Villa Rica, which aims to locate the vessels of Cortés.

The anchor was found at a depth of twelve meters, completely covered by marine sediment. The element, which is in a good state of conservation, measures 2.59 meters long and retains its two arms, 33 centimeters each, and part of its wooden stock.

"The latter (the stock) allowed the specialists to take samples and carry out dating studies to know their temporality, and archaeobotany in order to investigate their origin," explained the Institute.

An examination with a mass spectrometer of the Institute of Physics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) has dated the wood "with a probability of 95%" in a time interval between 1417 and 1492; a second test in the United States established the data between 1450 and 1530.

A sample of the anchor wood will be sent to the European research project For Sea Discovery to delve into the wood and corroborate its origin.

There is a possibility that in the next exploration season in the area they will deepen the study of the anchor and analyze the possibility of removing it from the sea and stabilize it to ensure its conservation. It would be sought that the historical object could remain in Villa Rica and become a cultural and tourist attraction of this population.

Cortés arrived on the coast of Villa Rica with a fleet of 11 ships, of which 10 were sunk by order of the conqueror to make it clear to his men that there was no turning back on his expedition.

by Agency

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