Man Who Claims Santa Maria Discovery Previously Found Shipwreck Off Cape Cod

The man who claims to have found the wreckage of Christopher Columbus’s flagship Santa Maria off the coast of Haiti, has made a major discovery before—he found the only verified pirate shipwreck, in 1984 off of Cape Cod.

Underwater explorer Barry Clifford discovered the Whydah, a ship that wrecked in a storm off the Cape in 1717 and contained more than 200,000 artifacts, including more than 10,000 coins and 400 pieces of gold jewelry. The artifacts from that ship can be seen at The Whydah Pirate Museum in Provincetown.

According to The Washington Post, the ship was found under just 14 feet of water and 5 feet of sand.

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As for Clifford’s latest discovery, the explorer said Wednesday that the ship has already been looted and needs to be excavated quickly, the Associated Press reports.

"I think this is an emergency situation," explorer Barry Clifford said. "I think the ship needs to be excavated as quick as possible and then conserved and then displayed to the world."

If the ship is indeed the Santa Maria, which ran aground in 1492, it would be the oldest known European shipwreck in the Americas.