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Expedition locates wreck of Santa Maria, one of Columbus' famed ships

Was Christopher Columbus famed ship, the Santa Maria, found near Haiti?
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

An expedition off the coast of Haiti has made nautical news with what may end up being one of the biggest ocean finds of the last few hundred years. On May 13, 2014, it was reported that ocean explorers may have identified what is the wreckage of the Santa Maria, one of the famous ships that Columbus sailed to the New World.

USAToday reports that Barry Clifford, one of the most well known underwater archaeological investigators in the world has been able to confidently identify this previously found shipwreck as one of the most famous boats of all time. The boat was found in a reef 15 feet below the surface on the northern coast of Haiti. There are a number of distinctive features of this shipwreck that have led Clifford to conclude that it is indeed one of the lost ships of Columbus.

The first is that the size of the ship matches that of what the Santa Maria was believe to be for the time period. Rocks that were used as the ship's ballast stone are said to have originated from the same section of Spain where Columbus sailed from. The final, and most crucial aspect of the discovery, is the cannon that has been traced back to the 15th century. The cannon was previously mis-categorized in 2003, leading to a delay in the assertion that this shipwreck is much more than a simple trade boat.

If this does in fact turn out to be one of the famous ships from the Columbus expedition, it is a major find in the ocean archaeological community. However, it is unfortunate that the incorrect categorization of the cannon has delayed this discovery for over a decade. To get more of your maritime fix, check out this list of famous shipwreck discoveries and see what other famous ships have been discovered in recent years.

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