Mexico May Have Found 2 More of Conquistador's Anchors

They were buried in sediment near the spot where Hernan Cortes scuttled his ships
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Dec 19, 2019 11:22 AM CST
Mexico May Have Found 2 More of Conquistador's Anchors
A foldout from a book published in 1524 shows a map of the Aztec Empire's capital of Tenochtitlan, right, now Mexico City, and an interpretation of the Gulf of Mexico, left, based on the eyewitness account of Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Two more 16th-century anchors have been found at the spot where conquistador Hernan Cortes is believed to have scuttled his ships, experts said Monday. Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said that while the anchors can't be positively IDed as belonging to Cortes' fleet, they appear to match the time period, the AP reports. Another Spanish expedition came to the area just after Cortes, so the anchors could have been from those ships. An anchor previously found in 2018 still had its wood crosspiece, and the wood has been dated to between 1450 and 1530. The wood was IDed as a type of oak that grows in northern Spain. Neither of the two anchors found this year still had wood, but the anchor design appeared to be from the same period. The institute said the two anchors were found by divers in the Gulf of Mexico near the town of Antigua. Veracruz.

It said the two anchors were in water about 33 to 50 feet deep, buried in about a yard of sediment, and that they'd be reburied in the sediment to preserve them. The anchors were found lying in positions indicating they were part of a fleet. However, "Villa Rica," as the port was once known, was a busy port that hosted many ships until it changed location around 1600. A magnetic seabed survey suggests 15 additional sites may contain anchors. Cortes landed in Veracruz in April 1519 and is said to have ordered 10 of his ships scuttled to prevent 400 troops from deserting. Outnumbered by Aztec warriors, Cortes allied with other indigenous groups and conquered the Aztecs in 1521. Mexico has struggled with how to mark the 500th anniversary of the conquest, which resulted in the death of a large part of the country's pre-Hispanic population.

(More Mexico stories.)

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