Huge silver bar found on shipwreck in Madagascar
Treasure that is thought to have belonged to Scottish pirate Captain Kidd has been discovered by archaeologists in Madagascar.
A 50kg (7st 9lb) silver bar was unearthed on Thursday on the island of Sainte Marie, from what is thought to be the wreck of the Adventure Galley.
The office of the country's president, Hery Rajaonarimampianina, posted the first image of divers recovering the silver treasure along with the caption: "The discovery of a wreck and treasure in the waters."
Île Sainte Marie: Découverte d'une épave et d'un trésor dans les eaux de l'Îlot Madame à Ste Marie pic.twitter.com/nJFSCtr4oj- PrésidenceMadagascar (@PresidenceMada) May 7, 2015
Tany Nosy Boraha ny PRM nijery ny vokatry ny asa fikarohana nataon'ireo ekipa US sy UK izay namongatra harena miafina pic.twitter.com/sHVo4yDs0D- PrésidenceMadagascar (@PresidenceMada) May 7, 2015
The joint UK and US search team was led by US explorer Barry Clifford, who believes there are many more bars still in the wreck.
Speaking to the BBC, Mr Clifford said: "Captain's Kidd's treasure is the stuff of legends. People have been looking for it for 300 years. To literally have it hit me on the head - I thought what the heck just happened to me. I really didn't expect this.
"There's more down there. I know the whole bottom of the cavity where I found the silver bar is filled with metal. It's too murky down there to see what metal, but my metal detector tells me there is metal on all sides."
The BBC's Martin Vogul was at the scene as Rajaonarimampianina was presented with the bar at a ceremony on Thursday.
He tweeted pictures of the event and that the British ambassador, among others, hoped the find would raise the profile of Madagascar with tourists.
Soldiers guard the silver treasure with the President of Madagascar in the background. pic.twitter.com/elBlVVBZrb- Martin Vogl (@martinvogl) May 7, 2015
British ambassador also here. Like many, hopes this will raise profile of Madagascar, especially for tourists. pic.twitter.com/k77zJPGfJT- Martin Vogl (@martinvogl) May 7, 2015
William Kidd was a 17th century Scottish pirate who was first appointed by the British authorities to tackle piracy, but later reportedly became a pirate himself and was executed in 1701.
He was commissioned to sail to Madagascar on the Adventure Galley, where he captured the Quedah Merchant, which carried silver as well as silk, gold, sugar, opium and cloth.
Some reports suggest he found piracy more rewarding, but, according to the Guardian, modern historians have suggested he was only ever a "wronged privateer who believed he was authorised by the government to attack foreign vessels."
He was captured in Boston in 1699 and sent to Newgate prison before his death. The jewels found on his ship were valued at £30,000, the equivalent of around £10m today, but the remainder of his treasure was never found.
Perhaps until now.
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