A hoard of treasure worth at least £12bn could be buried in the sands of a Scottish firth, a world-renowned marine expert claimed today.
Historians have argued for centuries about the fate of the fleet of Roundhead general Monck, whose troops sacked Monarchist Dundee in 1651 and are thought to have filled several ships with booty.
No trace has ever been found of the fleet, which was hit by a storm, but marine archaeologist Neil Cunningham Dobson believes the vessels may have been quickly covered by the shifting sands of the Tay.
Mr Dobson, who works for a US marine exploration firm and has previously helped find wrecks from both world wars, said new equipment and technology could finally revealed the location of the lost fleet.
Historic Scotland agree it remains “possible” that Monck’s fleet lies on the bed of the Tay and said its discovery would be of “historical and archaeological significance”.
The loot stolen from Dundee is believed to have included around 200,000 gold coins, estimated to be worth £12.5bn at today’s prices. Many of Scotland’s wealthiest families stashed their wealth in the city, wrongly believing it was safe from the Roundheads.
Mr Dobson, 55, principal marine archaeologist with Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration, said:
“If historical records are investigated and proved to indicate that a fleet of ships floundering leaving the River Tay bound for London, then evidence of their remains and valuable cargoes could be laying under thousands of tonnes of sand somewhere along the south shore of the River Tay from Broughty Ferry out past the Abertay Sands to the east and southeast.