Oranjemund – Diamond prospectors in Namibia nearly a decade ago stumbled upon remnants of a shipwrecked Portuguese vessel whose trading journey to India was cut violently short by a storm in 1533.
The ship’s artifacts are described by archaeologists as one of the most important finds from that era, but they remain a hidden treasure. They are seen by only a small number of visitors who navigate stringent security at a mine operated by a joint venture between Namibia and the De Beers company.
The ship’s remains are in limbo in this southern African country where many vessels foundered over the centuries on its treacherous Atlantic Ocean coastline.
While Namibia says it needs resources, archaeologists worry the chance for valuable research and a tourism bonanza is closing as decay takes its toll.