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By Karla Zabludovsky - Newsweek
More than 2,900 gold coins and 45 gold ingots have been recovered from the shipwrecked S.S. Central America since an archaeological excavation began in mid-April, Odyssey Marine Exploration, the company contracted to dive to the site, revealed on a report published Tuesday.
Other 19th century artifacts recovered include luggage pieces, a pistol, a pocket watch, and several daguerreotypes, an early type of photography.
Several samples of coral and sea anemones have also been collected through a science program which is studying deep sea biological diversity.
Pine and oak specimens placed on the seabed in 1990 and 1991, during the last known dives to the shipwreck site, are being retrieved so that scientists can study the “shipworms” consuming and destroying the ship’s timbers.
“The insights provided by this experiment have provided valuable new information about the degradation of shipwrecks in this environment, and it greatly aids our interpretation of the conditions we are observing on this site and can expect of other shipwrecks in similar circumstances,” says one of the reports previously released by Odyssey Marine Exploration.
The S.S. Central America sank off the Carolina coast in 1857, at the height of the California Gold Rush, when it sailed into a hurricane.
It had departed, days earlier, from Panama, with roughly 580 passengers who were carrying with them an unknown amount of gold.
Estimates for the total gold cargo range between three and 21 tons of gold.