A team of archaeologists believe they may have uncovered Cardiff-born buccaneer Sir Henry Morgan’s flagship Satisfaction, which was wrecked in 1671.
The US-led team, which earlier this year found six iron cannons believed to be from Morgan’s once-powerful fleet, believes it has discovered the remains of Satisfaction in waters off Panama City.
The wreckage is part of the starboard side of a 17th-Century wooden ship hull which the archaeologists believe is Morgan’s former flagship.
It contains numerous unopened cargo boxes and several, large coral encrusted chests.
The research team, which is working at the Lajas Reef off Panama, is led by archaeologists and divers from Texas State University.
Believed to have been born in Llanrumney in 1635, the son of a well-to-do farmer, Morgan sailed to the Caribbean as a young soldier.
Although widely known as a pirate he was in fact a privateer, having the backing of the English crown to terrorise the Spanish Main.
After gathering enough money to captain his own ship he eventually became the “admiral” of a fleet of privateer ships, plundering wealthy Spanish cities in the Americas.
He lost five ships in 1671, including Satisfaction, during an attempt to capture a fort, Castillo de San Lorenzo, near Panama City.
While Morgan and his men succeeded in taking the fort, his ships were lost in rough waters at the Lajas Reef… until now.
Archaeologist Fritz Hanselman said: “To us, the ship is the treasure – the story is the treasure.
“And you don’t have a much better story than Captain Morgan’s sack of Panama City and the loss of his five ships.”
Tom Herbst, of rum brand Captain Morgan, which is part-funding the mission, said: “The artefacts uncovered during this mission will help bring Henry Morgan and his adventures to life in a way never thought possible.”
Artefacts excavated by the dive team will remain the property of the Panamanian government and will be preserved and displayed.
A team of US archaeologists study the wreckage of a ship they believe to be part of Captain Henry Morgan’s lost fleet