By Petronella Sibeene
Shipwreck treasure worth millions of dollars discovered last year in the Sperrgebiet by a diamond explorer has been taken to the central bank vaults for safe keeping.
Although there is no visible threat yet to the centuries-old treasure, Government recently said the treasure, which includes gold and silver coins, was moved to the Bank of Namibia vaults, where it will be kept for an unspecified period.
The coins will be on public display once they have been polished.
The Minister of Youth, National Service, Sport and Culture Willem Konjore, Spanish Ambassador to Namibia Alfonso Barnuevo as well as the Governor of the Bank of Namibia Tom Alweendo witnessed the arrival of the coins.
Konjore told New Era the find was transferred to the Bank of Namibia for safekeeping while experts returned to their home countries to find relevant instruments needed for polishing the coins.
“Experts will look and see what instruments are needed for cleaning. They are expected to come back to Namibia in the next few weeks, because the artifacts need quick action to be conserved and for the quality not to deteriorate,” the minister said.
During May 2008, Namdeb geologists in their search for diamonds offshore stumbled upon a shipwreck that is believed to be the oldest in sub-Saharan Africa, dating back to 1400 or 1500.
Found in Namdeb’s Mining Area 1, the site yielded a wealth of objects including six bronze cannons, several tonnes of copper, more than 50 elephant tusks, pewter tableware, navigational instruments, weapons and thousands of Spanish and Portuguese gold coins, minted in the late 1400s and early 1500s.