The ship was laden with tons of copper ingots, elephant tusks, gold coins -- and cannons to fend off pirates. But it had nothing to protect it from the fierce weather off a particularly bleak stretch of inhospitable African coast, and it sank 500 years ago. Now it has been found, stumbled upon by De Beers geologists prospecting for diamonds off Namibia. "If you're mining on the coast, sooner or later you'll find a wreck," archaeologist Dieter Noli said in an interview Thursday.NamdebDiamond Corp., a joint venture of the government of Namibia and De Beers, first reported the April 1 find in a statement Wednesday, and planned a news conference in the Namibian capital next week. The company had cleared and drained a stretch of seabed, building an earthen wall to keep the water out so geologists could work.
Noli said one of the geologists saw a few ingots, but had no idea what they were. Then the team found what looked like cannon barrels.The geologists stopped the brutal earth-moving work of searching for diamonds and sent photos to Noli, who had done research in the Namibian desert since the mid-1980s and has advised De Beers since 1996 on the archaeological impact of its operations in Namibia. The find "was what I'd been waiting for, for 20 years," Noli said. "Understandably, I was pretty excited. I stillam."
original specialty was the desert, but because of Namdeb's offshore
explorations, he had been preparing for the possibility of a wreck,
even learning to dive.
After the discovery, he
brought in Bruno Werz, an expert in the field, to help research the
wreck. Noli has studied maritime artifacts with Werz, who was one of
his instructors at the University of Cape Town.
Judging from the notables
depicted on the hoard of Spanish and Portuguese coins, and the type of
cannons and navigational equipment, the ship went down in the late
1400s or early 1500s, around the time Vasco de Gama and Columbus were
plying the waters of the New World.
"Based on the goods they
were carrying, it's almost certain that it dates from that time," said
John Broadwater, chief archaeologist at theU.S. National......
Archaeologists have found a vast new network of royal tombs in Ethiopia, near the site where the 1,700-year-old Axum obelisk is to be re-erected. Experts using sophisticated imaging equipment discovered the burial chambers, even older than the obelisk, under a 1963 car park, said the UN. The stone monoliths were originally erected to mark burial sites for deceased members of the aristocracy. The final piece of the Axum obelisk was flown homefrom Italy on Monday. The whole structur...Early humans 'followed coast'
The first humans who left Africa to populate the world headed south along the coast of the Indian Ocean, Science magazine reports. Scientists had always thought the exodus from Africa around 70,000 years ago took place along a northern route into Europe and Asia. But according to a genetic study, early modern humans followed the beach, possibly lured by a seafood diet. They quickly reached Australia but took much longer to settle in Europe. Dr Martin Richards, of the University of...Stone age mass graves reveal green Sahara
Submitted by Marvy: One of the driest deserts in the world, the Saharan Tenere Desert, hosted at least two flourishing lakeside populations during the Stone Age, a discovery of the largest graveyard from the era reveals. The archaeological site in Niger, called Gobero, was discovered by Paul Sereno at the University of Chicago, during a dinosaur-hunting expedition. It had been used as a burial site by two very different populations during the millennia when the Sahara was lush. Careful examinati...The African foundations of New York
The remains of 20,000 African men, women and children have lain beneath the busy streets of New York for 300 years, waiting to tell their stories on the extent of slavery in the city. In March 1992, leading African-America archaeologist Michael Blakey arrived at the burial ground in downtown Manhattan. "I had readabout these people documented as chattel, " he said. "Now I was going to learn about these Africans in New York as human beings." A haunting sight greeted hi...Witchcraft legalised in Zimbabwe
News coming out of Zimbabwe has been surreal for quite some time, but from this month it could become even more so, as witchcraft and wizardry are legal again after a 107-year ban. But if President Robert Mugabe's new legislation is applied humanely then only good witches will find any solace in it, as the act prohibits the practice of witchcraft by people who use their supernatural powers to harm others.The 1899 prohibition which made it illegal to accuse anyone of being a witch or a wizard...The Mysteries of the Dogan People
By Ramon Thomas
From an interview with Credo Mutwa : Zulu Shaman, World renown traditional healer, Zulu
Sangoma and High Sanusi
In many western countries, when an old person dies it is simply the death of
an old human being who has gone through life and whose days on earth now come to
an end. But in Africa, the death of an elder- an old man or an old woman,
becomes a supreme disaster because in the mind of that elder often carries
knowledge passed down from parent to child. Knowl...The Memories of a Distant Star (Sirius)
The Dogan people of west of Africa
have a detailed knowledge of the universe that is astonishingly accurate. was it
as they claim, passed on by Ancient astronauts? Like many African tribes, the
Dogon people of the Republic of Mali have a shadowed past. They settled on the
Bandiagara Plateau, where they now live, some time between the 13th and 16th
centuries. For most of the year, their homeland - 300 miles (500 km) south of
Timbuktu - is a desolate, arid, rocky terrain of cliffs an...Comparison of Four African Creation Myths