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Three 16th Century English Cannons and the Remains of a Galley Discovered During Cleanup on a Spanish Beach

Three 16th Century English Cannons and the Remains of a Galley Discovered During Cleanup on a Spanish Beach

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Three English 16th century cannons and the remains of a galley were discovered during the recent cleanup of a Spanish beach. The find was made in Calpe, a Spanish municipality in Valencia located on the north coast of the province of Alicante, in the Marina Alta region.

The Fishermen's Association of Calpe , along with various other organizations and institutions in the area, held a cleanup day for the local seabed. There was much surprise when, apart from the residues extracted from those beautiful Mediterranean waters, they encountered three cannons from the late 16th century and the remains of the galley that had carried them.

Galleys fighting in the Battle of Lepanto (1571), by an unknown artist, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London.

Galleys fighting in the Battle of Lepanto (1571), by an unknown artist, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London. ( Public Domain )

As La Marina Plaza reports, the artillery was made ​​in England and dates to between 1570 and 1580. The pieces were very common on vessels of that time. The three cannons have very different dimensions: one measures 90 cm (35.4 inches), another 2.4 meters (7.87 ft.) and the third is 2.8 meters (9.19 ft.) Divers also found the remains of the galley that was carrying the magnificent pieces of artillery. The ship probably sank because of some temporary bad weather while seeking shelter in the port of Calpe –ultimately it could not overcome the situation, and ended up sinking into the bay.

The Underwater Archaeology Center has recommended that these three pieces remain "in situ" and are not extracted, since the deterioration of the cannons would be much greater if they are exposed to air, which would accelerate the oxidation process. In addition, the municipality of Calpe has already extracted other cannons from the seabed. The UNESCO declaration on underwater heritage , ratified by the Spanish State, also supports the cannons remaining in the place where they have been discovered.

Additionally, the Center for Underwater Archaeology has indicated that their next report will include the fact that the entire assemblage is important - giving notice to the Director of Ports and providing a warning that it would be necessary to conduct an archaeological excavation and evaluation of the environmental impact before any works could be completed. This would mean that any work planned in the area could take up to a decade.

Panorama of Calpe, its bay and the Peñón de of Ifach.

Panorama of Calpe, its bay and the Peñón de of Ifach. (Public domain )

But it has not been ruled out that this unexpected find goes further: the recovery of other objects, such as some ammunition, has not been rejected.

In any case, the Center for Underwater Archaeology will dedicate one morning to studying the artifacts, extracting them and depositing them in a nearby warehouse. Inside, they will be measured, drawn, documented, and photographed - necessary procedures for proper documentation of the discovery. After this, they will be returned to the Mediterranean Sea.

Finally, it should be noted that in addition to this unusual discovery, the cleanup day was a success and 1,540 kilos (3395 lbs.) of garbage was removed from the sea. Numerous boats and lots of divers worked all morning on the extraction of waste, which has subsequently been separated for recycling and/or disposal in the appropriate containers.

In addition to this unusual finding, the cleanup day was a success. 1,540 kilos of garbage was removed from the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Calpe

In addition to this unusual finding, the cleanup day was a success. 1,540 kilos of garbage was removed from the Mediterranean seabed off the coast of Calpe. ( La Marina Plaza )

Featured Image: One of the three cannons discovered half buried in the seabed of Calpe. Source: La Marina Plaza

By Mariló T. A.

This article was first published in Spanish at http://www.ancient-origins.es and has been translated with permission.

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