Archaeological News

            The latest news in archaeology.       


counter for tumblr
Posts tagged "christopher columbus"

Haiti is determined to continue the search for Christopher Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, after a United Nations report this week found that a wreck discovery did not match the historic vessel.

"We will not leave any trail unexplored to discover what might remain of this famous ship," Haiti’s minister of culture, Monique Rocourt, said on Wednesday.

In May, a team led by U.S. marine explorer Barry Clifford said it had identified the 500-year-old wreck of the Santa Maria off the country’s north coast near a reef.

The Santa Maria was one of a fleet of three vessels that left Spain in 1492 to look for a shorter route to Asia. The ship is believed to have drifted onto a reef near Haiti on Christmas Day and had to be abandoned. Read more.

Archeologists digging in the Huelva town of La Fontanilla de Palos believe they have found the exact location where Christopher Columbus set sail for the New World in 1492.

The excavations have been taking place for two months at the site and this latest development is being hailed as one of the most important and significant discoveries relating to the history of the day.

Enrique Martínez Ituño, originally from Argentina, spoke of finding the historic port in 1908, although it wasn’t until 1992 that progress was actually made. Now, the archaeological team, led by Juan Manuel Campos, believes that the long hidden piece of historic jigsaw has finally been revealed. Read more.

Haiti’s culture minister says a shipwreck off the country’s north coast probably isn’t a lost flagship of Christopher Columbus as a U.S. explorer has claimed.

An analysis by experts from UNESCO is expected within days. But Culture Minister Monique Rocourt tells The Associated Press it appears unlikely that the ship is the Santa Maria.

Rocourt said in an interview Thursday that the remains on the sea floor near Cap-Haitien appear to be from a later ship.

Explorer Barry Clifford stands by his belief that he found what’s left of the Santa Maria. He says he’s heard the UNESCO report raises doubts about the claim he announced in May. The ship foundered on Christmas Day in 1492. It would be a major archaeological find if confirmed. (source)

The Haitian government plans to create a high-level commission to monitor the possible discovery of the 500-year-old remains of Christopher Columbus’s flagship off the country’s north coast, Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said on Wednesday.

The announcement, made via Twitter, came as Haitian officials were meeting in the capital Port-au-Prince with U.S. marine explorer Barry Clifford, the leader of a team that claimed two weeks ago to have discovered the wreck of the Santa Maria.

Lamothe said the commission would be composed of experts from the United Nation’s cultural arm, UNESCO, the ministries of culture and tourism, specialists from the Haitian National Pantheon Museum (MUPANAH), as well as Clifford. Read more.


The leader of an undersea expedition says a pile of wreckage on the bottom of the Caribbean Sea, off the north coast of Haiti, may well mark the spot where Christopher Columbus’ flagship, the Santa Maria, sank in 1492.

"All the geographical, underwater topography and archaeological evidence strongly suggests that this wreck is Columbus’ famous flagship, the Santa Maria," team leader Barry Clifford is quoted as saying by The Independent, a British newspaper.

Clifford said the next step would be to work with the Haitian government on a detailed excavation of the wreck.

The claim is based on photographic documentation of the underwater site, plus Clifford’s interpretation of previous research that identified the location of La Navidad, the fortified settlement that Columbus established on Haiti’s coast after the Santa Maria ran aground on Christmas Day, 1492. Read more.


Severe scurvy struck Columbus’s crew during his second voyage and after its end, forensic archaeologists suggest, likely leading to the collapse of the first European town established in the New World.

In 1492, Christopher Columbus crossed the Atlantic, beginning Europe’s discovery of the New World. Two years later on his second voyage, he and 1,500 colonists founded La Isabela, located in the modern-day Dominican Republic.

The first permanent European town in the Western Hemisphere, La Isabela was abandoned within four years amid sickness and deprivation.

Historians have long blamed diseases such as smallpox, influenza, and malaria for the town’s demise. But a study of graveyard remains from the town site, reported online in the International Journal of Osteoarchaeology, suggests that an ancient seafarer’s scourge—scurvy, a severe vitamin C deficiency—plagued Columbus’s first colony and worsened the illnesses behind their town’s collapse. Read more.

Skeletons don’t lie. But sometimes they can mislead, as in the case of bones that reputedly showed evidence of syphilis in Europe and other parts of the Old World before Christopher Columbus made his historic voyage in 1492.

None of this skeletal evidence, including 54 previously published reports, holds up when subjected to standardised analyses for both diagnosis and dating, according to an new appraisal in the current Yearbook of Physical Anthropology. In fact, the skeletal data strengthens the case that syphilis did not exist in Europe before Columbus set sail.

This is the first time that all 54 of these cases have been evaluated systematically,” says George Armelagos, an anthropologist at Emory University and co-author of the appraisal. “The evidence keeps accumulating that a progenitor of syphilis came from the New World with Columbus’ crew and rapidly evolved into the venereal disease that remains with us today.” Read more.

KENOSHA — The Pinta and the Nina, replicas of Christopher Columbus’ ships, will open for tours in Kenosha Tuesday, Aug. 30. The ships will be docked at the Kenosha Yacht Club, 5130 Fourth Ave., until their departure early Monday, Sept. 12.

The Nina was built completely by hand and without the use of power tools. Archaeology magazine called the ship “the most historically correct Columbus replica ever built.” The “Pinta” was recently built in Brazil to accompany the Nina on all of her travels. She is a larger version of the archetypal caravel. 

Both ships tour together as a new and enhanced “sailing museum” for the purpose of educating the public and school children on the Caravel, a Portuguese ship used by Columbus and many early explorers used to discover the world.

While in port, the general public are invited to visit the ships from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. for a walk-aboard, self-guided tour. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors and $6 for youth ages 5-16 . There is no charge for children 4 and younger. No reservations necessary. (source)