Photo: Spanish galleon's treasure
The treasure from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes, brought up from the bottom of the sea by U.S. salvage firm Odyssey and recovered, after a hard-fought legal battle, by the Spanish state, will be displayed at the National Museum of Subacquatic Archaeology in the southeastern city of Cartagena on the Mediterranean coast.
The announcement was made Friday by the general director of fine arts and cultural assets, Jesus Prieto, at a press conference to report on the Plan of Procedure for the frigate’s cultural items, in which he confirmed that the cargo will be in the museum known as ARQUA “before the end of the year.”
“It’s the logical place,” Prieto said, adding that the museum sets the standard in Spain for the protection and restoration of the nation’s subacquatic heritage, adding that “it might even seem it was created in its day to house this cargo.”
The 14.5-ton haul is made up of nearly 600,000 coins, more than half of them made of silver.
These are coins minted in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, with the year 1804, the year the ship sank, being the most recent date.
For Nieto, the cargo of a galleon like this has to be “a historical document of prime importance,” and noted its “enormous scientific interest.”