A new expedition has uncovered priceless artifacts from a shipwreck in the Bahamas more than 350 years ago. The new local museum will display artifacts, gem-encrusted pendants and gold chains.
The cruiser Our Lady of Heaven sank with cargoes of gold, silver and precious stones on the west side of Little Bahama Bank in 1656. A Spanish galleon was part of the flotilla bound for Spain from Havana with royal and private treasures from the Americas. There were a total of about 500 passengers aboard, of whom only 45 survived. Bahamian and American maritime archaeologists and divers have discovered scattered on the ocean floor a gold chain with a rose pattern that may have been made for either wealthy aristocrats or royalty; an Indian bezoar shaped like a scallop, prized in Europe for its medicinal properties and a symbol of travelers who made a religious pilgrimage. Findings related to the military-religious Order of Santiago, which protected pilgrims on their voyages and participated in the maritime trade of Spain.
The Bahamas Maritime Museum will display the finds, which will remain the property of the Bahamas government.