• Short Summary

    Dozens of divers are plunging 300 years back in time in Mombasa's Old Town Harbour in Kenya and are surfacing with priceless treasures.

  • Description

    Dozens of divers are plunging 300 years back in time in Mombasa's Old Town Harbour in Kenya and are surfacing with priceless treasures.

    SYNOPSIS: Members of a multi-national diving team have been searching a wreck tentatively identified as the 42-gun Portuguese frigate, Santo Antonio de Tanna, which sank in Mombasa in 1697 while attempting to relieve a besieged garrison. The wreck was located by Kenyan scuba divers 12 years ago in about 20 metres (66 feet) of water. In 1971, they raised a number of objects from the wreck. Some of these helped to confirm the Portuguese nationality of the vessel and one in particular, a bronze canon, bears the Portuguese coat of arms and the date 1678.

    According to the divers, it is never possible to see the whole wreck are at once. Visibility is usually no more than three metres (10 feet) and on occasions it is impossible for the divers even to read their watches. But there are times when visibility is up to 12 metres (40 feet) and divers wait for these to carry out more intricate searches.

    Items recovered so far include brass ornaments, lead shot, pewter bottle stoppers, ceramic bowls, earthenware jars, pulleys, nails and a hand pump.

    An ink pot still full of black fluid was also found. While the items themselves provide a glimpse of Kenya's ancient history, only the most modern methods are being used to preserve them. All items found are carefully sent up to surface crews in plastic bags to be immediately doused in protective chemicals and labelled. They are then briefly examined before being forwarded to a special conservation laboratory set up at nearby Fort Jesus Museum.

    Experts from Kenya, Britain, Portugal and the United States have described the work as extremely encouraging, although they believe that when the vessel sank much of the valuable contents from her upper parts were salvaged. They say parts of the frigate must have been above the surface at low tide during the early years after it sank.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA2HVP5IJ8DLG62AVKOMM2POVDD
    Media URN:
    VLVA2HVP5IJ8DLG62AVKOMM2POVDD
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    05/03/1977
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:08:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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