Researchers discover 1699 Captain Kidd Shipwreck in the Caribbean

December 14th, 2007 - 5:22 pm ICT by admin  

Washington , Dec 14 (ANI): Indiana University s underwater archaeology team has discovered the remains of the ship abandoned by the unfortunate 17 th century pirate Captain Kidd.

The Quedagh Merchant is speculated to be the ship the captain was racing to New York in the same ship in an ill-fated attempt to clear his name.

However, the researchers are still arguing over its announcement in order to keep the looters away.

Charles Beeker, director of Academic Diving and Underwater Science Programs in IU Bloomington’s School of Health , Physical Education and Recreation, revealed that his team has been authorized to study the wreckage in order to convert the site into an underwater preserve for easier accessibility to public.

He said that it was amazing that the wreck has still remained undiscovered after so many years as its location was just 70 feet off the coast of Catalina Island in the Dominican Republic, and also the treasure hunters had long been seeking for it.

“I’ve been on literally thousands of shipwrecks in my career,” Beeker said.

He added: “This is one of the first sites I’ve been on where I haven’t seen any looting. We’ve got a shipwreck in crystal clear, pristine water that’s amazingly untouched. We want to keep it that way, so we made the announcement now to ensure the site’s protection from looters.”

It is an important discovery as it has the potential to reveal important information about piracy in the Caribbean and about the legendary Capt. Kidd, said John Foster, California ’s state underwater archaeologist, who is participating in the research.

“I look forward to a meticulous study of the ship, its age, its armament, its construction, its use, its contents and the reconstructed wrecking process that resulted in the site we see today,” said Foster.

He added: “Because there is extensive, written documentation, this is an opportunity we rarely have to test historic information against the archaeological record.”

However, the historians do not have a fixed idea of whether Kidd was actually a pirate or a privateer (someone who captured pirates).

Kidd was left to hang over the River Thames for two years after his conviction of piracy and murder charges in a scandalous London trial.

According to the historians, Kidd captured the Quedagh Merchant, laden with precious satins and silks, gold, silver and other East Indian merchandise,

However, he abandoned the ship in the Caribbean when he sailed to New York on a less known ship to clear his name of the criminal charges.

The men to whom Kidd handed over his ship eventually looted it, and then set it on flame and left it to go down the Rio Dulce, said anthropologist Geoffrey Conrad, director of IU Bloomington’s Mathers Museum of World Cultures.

Conrad said that the historical records of the ship were found to be consistent with the location of the wreckage and the formation and size of the canons, which were used as ballast. Pieces of several anchors under the cannons were also discovered.

“All the evidence that we find underwater is consistent with what we know from historical documentation, which is extensive,” said Conrad.

“Through rigorous archeological investigations, we will conclusively prove that this is the Capt. Kidd shipwreck, he added.

The IU team examined the shipwreck at the demand of the Dominican Republic ’s Oficina Nacional De Patrimonio Cultural Subacuatico.

“The site was initially discovered by a local prominent resident of Casa De Campo, who recognized the significance of the numerous cannons and requested the site be properly investigated. So, I contacted IU, said ONPCS Technical Director Francis Soto.

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