Researchers on Horseback Find Bits of 1765 Shipwreck

Most of the 193 aboard survived the wreck, spent 2 months ashore

By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 10, 2014 10:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – In a tale of archaeology with a bit of an Indiana Jones ring to it, researchers have identified new pieces of a 1765 shipwreck off Argentina—while traveling 125 miles of Tierra del Fuego on horseback. IANS reports that the team was on the hunt for pre-Columbian sites on the archipelago, which sits off the southernmost point of the mainland, roughly 2,200 miles from Buenos Aires. They uncovered wood, metal, and seven cannonballs from La Purisima Concepcion, a Spanish ship that was en route to Callao, Peru, and went down on Jan. 10 before reaching Cape Horn.

The shipwreck, the oldest known in those parts, didn't end with all those aboard meeting a watery grave: Instead, many of the 193 who sailed on the Concepcion survived and spent two months ashore, where they lived among the natives and constructed smaller boats that took them to Buenos Aires, reports AFP, which adds that the archaeologists were able to determine exactly where the ship went down—though they're not telling. "It is not a galleon loaded with gold and pearls like in the movies; it's just a supply ship," says the lead archaeologist. "But we have chosen not to disclose the exact location so as not to encourage anyone to go souvenir hunting." Next up: a search for the castaways' campsite. (Click for news of another shipwreck in a different ocean.)

Tierra del Fuego is seen on a graphic released by the National Geographic Society.   (AP Photo/National Geographic Society)
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