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Underwater archaeologist, Dr. Lee Spence seeking artifacts allegedly looted from Bahamas shipwreck
Sep 5, 2014 - 4:38:26 PM

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Shipwreck treasure expert and underwater archaeologist, Dr. Lee Spence is on the lookout for iron cannons allegedly looted from a sunken Spanish galleon off northwest Bahamas.

Dr. Spence writes on his Facebook page which has over 70,000 followers,

"I have been asked by a friend in the Bahamas to help track down over 40 iron cannons allegedly looted (stolen) earlier this summer from the wreck of a Spanish galleon about 40 miles north of Freeport in the northwest Bahamas. Its thought that the alleged looters may have been using a large, blue hulled, salvage vessel that was reported in the general area.

Its quite likely that the cannons have been taken out of the Bahamas, most likely to Florida.

Regardless of the color or type of vessel, if you have recently seen any cannons being unloaded at a dock in the Bahamas or in Florida, I would appreciate your emailing me at HunleyFinder@Yahoo.com and sharing any information that you might have even if it is just the name of the boat and/or the marina that the boat was using.

Thefts of this type are in part the result of overly restrictive laws that prevent legitimate shipwreck salvage projects. In a legitimate salvage project (meaning one done to the appropriate archaeological protocols with government approval), the cannons would likely have been left in place, as sort of an underwater park and tourist destination that would actually enhance the value of artifacts lawfully recovered from the site. In government sanctioned salvage projects, everyone wins. When wrecks are looted only the looters benefit. And, looters not only risk arrest, they don't make nearly as much money as they would on a properly licensed and conducted archaeological salvage project, where the full story of the shipwreck and its salvage can be openly shared with buyers of the salvor's share of the artifacts. The public benefits because their tax dollars aren't used for the salvage yet the government still gets a large share of the artifacts for museum display and study.

Please share and help me get the word out. I really want to catch these people.

Thanks, Lee"

Spurred on by childhood tales of pirates and adventure, Dr. E. Lee Spence, built his own diving gear and found his first shipwrecks the year he was twelve. That was 1959-1960. He has since found hundreds more wrecks and has worked on everything from Spanish galleons and pirate ships to Civil War blockade runners and twentieth century freighters. He has never forgotten the exciting dreams of his youth and is still making them come true. One of those dreams was eating off the dinner plates and drinking wine recovered from the shipwrecks. Another was finding gold and silver coins, cannons, pistols, muskets and swords. He has lived all of those dreams and lots more.

Read his BIO here.

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