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Wed 16 Mar 2016 01:48 PM

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Oman shipwreck reveals 'incredibly rare' silver coin

500-year-old wreckage of Portuguese ship piloted by an uncle of explorer Vasco da Gamma found off Oman coast

Oman shipwreck reveals 'incredibly rare' silver coin

The 500-year-old wreckage of Portuguese ship piloted by an uncle of explorer Vasco da Gamma has reportedly been discovered off the coast of Oman.

According to Associated Press, the Esmeralda sank during a violent storm near al-Hallaniyah Island in the Indian Ocean in May 1503, killing commander Vicente Sodre and all those aboard.

It said a team from the British company Blue Water Recoveries and the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture found an incredibly rare silver coin called an Indio, of which only one other is known to exist today.

David L Mearns, the director of Blue Water Recoveries, was quoted as saying: "That was an amazing discovery. It was like a thing you read about in a Hollywood story."

The coins were forged in 1499 after da Gama's first voyage to India, which helps date the wreckage, he said.

Ayoub al-Busaidi, the supervisor of marine archaeology at the Oman Ministry of Heritage and Culture, said this marked the first underwater excavation carried out by his country.

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