An Unforgettable Experience

Experience the excitement of treasure hunting in the waters of the Atlantic; step back in time to the era of exploration when Spain ruled the seas and the treasures of the New World were flowing into the coffers of King Philip IV.

The date: September 6, 1622

The Spanish galleon, Nuestra Senora de Atocha, and its sister ship, Santa Margarita, were sailing from Havana, Cuba to Seville, Spain. Off the coast of Florida, the vessels encountered hurricane-force winds and high waves which dashed the ships against a coral reef. Within minutes the ships went under and passengers, crew and cargo were lost. Knowing that the Atocha was over-laden with a cargo of gold, silver ingots, emeralds and jewelry, the search for the vessel took on great importance to many treasure seekers. However, signs of the ship and its treasure eluded everyone for nearly 360 years.

Through the efforts of treasure hunter Mel Fisher, the research of Dr. Eugene Lyons, and the backing of investor Melvin Joseph, Sr. of Georgetown, Delaware, along with others who believed in the search, over 1,000 silver bars, 180,000 silver coins and a number of bronze cannons have been recovered as part of the treasure of the Atocha. And what treasure it is! The magnificence of the gold, the splendor of the jewels and the excitement of the hunt can be enjoyed at the "Treasures of the Sea Exhibit", located at Delaware Technical and Community College, Rt. 18/404 Seashore Highway, Georgetown, Delaware.

Over $4,000,000 in artifacts, including silver ingots and coins, bronze cannons, gold coins and chains, silver artifacts, deep green emeralds from South America, and religious articles are featured in the permanent display housed in the college library building. Designed by Exhibits Unlimited, Inc., which has also designed displays for the Smithsonian Institution, the Exhibit recounts information about the 17th century, Spain and its New World colonies, and the plight of the Atocha.

Exhibit patrons may also view a 17- or 34-minute video on the search for the ship, listen to a recording by Mel Joseph on the finding of the cannons, and visit the gift shop.

A weekend excursion, a leisurely stop enroute to the beach or a rainy day adventure - experience the excitement of treasure hunting and view treasures beyond compare!

by Leanne Phillips-Lowe

Seal insignia on cannon. Silver bars.