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A team of archaeologists has discovered a 15th century anchor in the area of the Gulf of Mexico where the Spanish conqueror Hernán Cortés sank his ships 500 years ago, although there is no evidence that relates it to that episode yet, explained the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) of Mexico.
"Laboratory analyzes made to the anchor stocks indicate that its wood dates from that century and belongs to an endemic oak from the north of Spain," said INAH in a bulletin on the find made in the waters of Villa Rica, in the state Mexican from Veracruz.
The INAH explained that "despite the remarkable nature of the find, specialists warn that there is still no evidence to link the anchor with the ships sunk in 1519 by Hernán Cortés."
The discovery 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 ships of Cortés.
The head of the Sub-Directorate of Underwater Archeology (SAS) of the INAH, Roberto Junco Sánchez, explained that the anchor was found at a depth of 12 meters, completely covered by marine sediment. The element, which is in a good state of preservation, measures 2.59 meters long and conserves its two arms, each measuring 33 centimeters, in addition to its arganeum and part of its wooden stocks.
"The latter (the stocks) allowed specialists to take samples and carry out dating studies to determine their temporality, and archaeobotany in order to investigate its provenance," explained the Institute.
The INAH explained that an examination with a mass spectrometer from the Physics Institute 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 date between 1450 and 1530.
A sample of the wood from the anchor will be sent to the European research project For Sea Discovery directed by the Spanish Ana Crespo "to delve into the wood and corroborate its origin," said the Institute.
Junco highlighted the possibility that in an upcoming exploration season in the area they will deepen the study of the anchor and analyze the possibility of removing it from the sea and stabilizing it so that its conservation is guaranteed.
"It would be sought that the historical object could remain in Villa Rica and become a cultural and tourist attraction for this population," the archaeologist added. Cortés arrived on the shores of Villa Rica with a fleet of 11 ships, of which 10 were sunk by orders of the conqueror to make it clear to his men that there was no turning back in his expedition..
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