The recent discovery of the remains of two old sunken ships and a lighthouse off the coast of Sisal remind us that, not only today but also in the past, Yucatan was a truly important hub for sea trade. So TYT brings you the First Part of this intriguing article from Diario de Yucatán…
SISAL – The current tranquility of Sisal contrasts with its bustling daily life in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the Yucatecan port attracted numerous ships, many of which never reached their destination. Now experts from the Subdirectorate of Underwater Archeology (SAS) of the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) have located those vestiges.
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These are three sites that they identified with the help of local guides, which correspond to an eighteenth-century Dutch warship, a British steamboat from the ninetieth-century and a lighthouse from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, informed archaeologist Helena Barba Meinecke, Responsible for Underwater Archeology Yucatan Peninsula of the SAS.
As part of the 2017 field season, of the Integral Project for the Protection, Conservation, Research and Dissemination of the Submerged Cultural Heritage of the Yucatan Peninsula, these are considered the oldest wrecks in the Sisal area.
Archeological research in Sisal (Photo: Diario de Yucatán)
The first of these discoveries was named “Madagascar Canyons”, due to its location close to the Madagascar reef, 22 nautical miles (25.31 miles) northwest of Sisal. According to Helena Barba the canons found in the ship belonged to the artillery of the Dutch war frigates that sailed the West Indies in the 18th century.
Now these vestiges are all covered with coral that makes an artificial reef and ideal environment to the preservation of sea species in the Yucatan Sea.
Researchers report that according to the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain, this wreck happened in February of 1722, the season of the lethal “north winds.” There were two Dutch frigates that bore contraband merchandise; one of those sank and its Dutch and English crewmen were rescued and taken to Sisal.
Read part two tomorrow Sunday Dec. 17 in TYT.
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