A 400 year old shipwreck has been found off the coast of Portugal by archeologists.

It is thought the wreck, which was discovered on 3 September off Cascais, sank near Lisbon after sailing back from India loaded with spices.

The wreck discovery is part of a 10-year archaeological project supported by the council of Cascais, the navy, the Portuguese government and Nova University of Lisbon.

Project director Jorge Freire told Reuters: “From a heritage perspective, this is the discovery of the decade. In Portugal, this is the most important find of all time.”

Divers discovered spices, nine bronze canons engraved with Portugal’s coat of arms, Chinese ceramics and cowry shells while exploring in and around the historic shipwreck which lies 12 metres underwater.

Freire said the shipwreck and its contents were ‘very well preserved.’ He and his team estimate that the ship sank between 1575 and 1625 in the midst of the spice trade.

Check out the BBC footage of the wreck here.

Main photo: Stock image, west of Lisbon. Photo by Jeroen Bendeler.

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