Sunday 22 October 2017

Ancient artefacts recovered from Spanish Armada wrecks off Sligo coast

Archaeologists using suction dredge
Archaeologists using suction dredge

Paula Flanagan

Minister for Arts Heather Humphreys has announced that the dive on the Spanish Armada wrecks off the coast of Streedagh in Co. Sligo is continuing to yield up significant artefacts.

The focus of the dive is on the wreck of La Juliana, parts of which were uncovered on the seabed by recent winter storms and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the weather and possible illegal interference.

The latest phase of this work has so far successfully recovered a variety of important artefacts, including six bronze cannon, one gun carriage wheel, a ship's cauldron and other smaller items.

La Juliana formed part of the Spanish Fleet of 130 ships, 26 of which were lost around the coast of Ireland. Two other ships were wrecked alongside La Juliana, La Lavia and Santa Maria de Vison, at Streedagh in September 1588, with a total loss of over 1,100 lives.

Cannon with image of St Peter
Cannon with image of St Peter

Minister Humphreys said that "the quality of material being recovered is remarkable and the gun carriage wheels, designed for siege warfare on land, paint a very clear picture of the scale and intent of the planned invasion of England by King Phillip II of Spain.”

She thanked the local communities of Streedagh, Grange and Mullaghmore including the Grange Armada Development Association and the Sligo Sub Aqua Club for their support and assistance during the project.

“They continue to maintain a watch over the sites, and I am very grateful for their vigilance and support,” the minister added.

The material is being recovered by her department's National Monuments Service for conservation by the National Museum of Ireland.

Minister Humphreys confirmed that, because of the conservation process that would need to be followed, "it would be up to two years before any of the artefacts would be ready to go on display."

Cannon lifted
Cannon lifted

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