500-Year-Old Columbus Ship Mystery May Be Solved

PHOTO: Experts believe theyve located Christopher Columbus flagship, the Santa Maria, off the coast of Haiti.PlayABC News
WATCH 500-Year-Old Columbus Ship Mystery May Be Solved

In his attempt to open up the New World to European colonization, Christopher Columbus ran his flagship, the Santa Maria, aground in the Caribbean in 1492. Today, its remains have thought to have been found.

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Archeological Investigator Barry Clifford and his team first discovered the wreck in 2004, but at that time did not have enough evidence to distinguish its identity.

Now Clifford is stating that, “All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria” in The Independent.

In the initial stage of his investigation, Clifford told The Independent that he used the data in Christopher Columbus’ diary to determine the location of the wreck. He then used his own knowledge on underwater topography to pinpoint the direction the ship could have drifted.

In subsequent years, Clifford has returned to photograph the wreck and has found evidence of a cannon matching those made during Columbus’ time.

Currently, Clifford is seeking a full excavation.

"I am confident that a full excavation of the wreck will yield the first ever detailed marine archaeological evidence of Columbus’ discovery of America," he told the newspaper. “We’ve informed the Haitian government of our discovery – and we are looking forward to working with them and other Haitian colleagues."

Clifford has been undergoing seafloor explorations for more than four decades. During that time he has spawned several books and countless television specials. Some of his treasures can be viewed at the Whydah Museum in Provincetown, Mass.

"It may ultimately be possible to lift any surviving remains of the vessel, fully conserve them and then put them on permanent public exhibition in a museum in Haiti," he said.