NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — After more than 500 years, the remains of Christopher Columbus’ flagship the Santa Maria are believed to have been found.
As CBS 2’s Elise Finch reported, an American archaeologist says he’s located what’s left of the famous vessel.
It may look like a pile of rubble, but marine archaeologist Barry Clifford says they are the remnants of the famed Santa Maria.
Clifford presented his findings to the media at the Explorer’s Club in Manhattan, saying his video shows what he believes are the ballast stones that were used to balance the ship, mixed with scraps of metal and part of a cannon.
“The gun carriage, the rudder mechanism, all of the spikes that were down between because when the ship gets eaten away by organisms, all of the spikes that are holding the timbers together fall down,” Clifford said. “It was exactly what I was looking for in the exact location we expected to find it.”
Clifford says he initially found the wreckage in 2003, but he wasn’t 100 percent sure of his findings until he returned to the area last week.
The archaeologist says he was led to the location by Columbus’ diary. In it, the explorer detailed how his largest ship, the Santa Maria, ran aground and sank in relatively shallow waters off the northern coast of Haiti.
“It has to be taken up it has to be preserved,” Clifford said.
It has yet to be confirmed that the remnants are indeed the Santa Maria, and because shipwrecks were so common in that era, there is skepticism in the scientific community, as well as on the streets of New York, Finch reported.
“I’m not buying it,” one New Yorker said.
“I’m not quite sure I believe it either,” another said.
In Columbus Circle, people told Finch they’re intrigued by what the Santa Maria’s artifacts may reveal.
“How they handled metal at that time, so you’d have the money, how they made jewelry,” Oceanport resident Barbara Gasparini said.
“I think I’d like to see it. I don’t know what kind of shape it’s going to be in,” said Stamford resident Art Brown.
“It’s a part of history,” said Midtown resident Charly Dannis.
Some of the remnants have already gone missing from the site, Finch reported. So Clifford and his team are heading back to excavate what’s left and get it all verified.
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