525 years ago, Christopher Columbus first came to the continent that would later be called America aboard three ships: Santa Maria, La Niña and Pinta. In spite of being so important for the history of the humanity, there are no remains of its existence in any museum.
For centuries, archaeologists and treasure hunters have tried to find them without success. Why?
Poor conservation conditions
The travel notes of the Genoese Admiral note that the most important vessel - the Santa Maria - ran aground during its first voyage on the coast of what is now Haiti and Columbus ordered to use its wood to build Fort Christmas, the first Spanish population in the New Continent.
Three years ago, the American marine explorer Barry Clifford believed he had found his remains, but UNESCO denied this information when he concluded that they were from a later period.
What would happen if Columbus had not come to America? "Europe would be plunged into obscurantism"
By Doug Fraser
GORHAM, MAINE — Twenty-seven months after federal agents, with guns drawn, executed a search warrant at his home and removed computers, memory storage devices and other materials, treasure hunter Greg Brooks, 66, has yet to be indicted for any crime.
He said he is living off his Social Security payments in a rented home, with no access to his salvage vessel or to the SS Port Nicholson, a British freighter sunk in 1942 in 641 feet of water about 50 miles off Provincetown. Brooks claims the ship contains a bounty of platinum, gold and perhaps diamonds that is worth billions.
"I think I'm one of the most honest treasure hunters out there and I still intend to pay people their money back," Brooks said, sitting at the kitchen table of his Gorham, Maine, home with two crew members. He said he raised a total of $8 million from investors, and all of it is gone.
Brooks said he wants to tell his side of the story, something he claimed his lawyers prevented him from doing while he was involved in court battles over control of the wreck. He said he is not the criminal people think he is, and the more than two years without an indictment proves that.
"Don't you think that If I'm the biggest crook they say I am that they would have already done something?" he asked.
"Pathological liar would be more like it on the truthful scale," said Tim Shusta, a Miami-based attorney who represented the British government in opposing Brooks' claim to the Port Nicholson, a 481-foot-long refrigerated cargo vessel. There is a five-year statute of limitations on federal fraud cases and time for prosecution may be running out for incidents from 2012. A second investigation from the Maine Office of Securities is still ongoing, according to investors.
Intricate jewelry found buried in a Staffordshire field is the earliest example of Iron Age gold ever found in Britain.
The collection, made up of four twisted metal neckbands, called torcs and a bracelet, was discovered by two metal detectorists just before Christmas.
Experts say they would have been owned by wealthy powerful women who probably moved from continental Europe to marry rich Iron Age chiefs.
The pair who discovered the find had swept the field 20 years earlier and uncovered nothing. But after abandoning a fishing trip to go treasure hunting they came across the horde, which could be worth hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The torcs were buried nested together and archaeologists believe they may have been buried for safekeeping or as an offering to a God, or an act of remembrance for someone who had died.
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- International Meeting on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage Sites, 22-23 September, Paris