Thursday, August 30, 2007


Hurricane reveals ancient cannons in Mexico


August 30, 2007

Mexico City - Hurricane Dean's rampage over Mexico's Caribbean coast last week unearthed three rusted 18th century cannons that had lain buried under a sandy beach for decades.

The cannons, around 1.8m long, were spotted poking through the sand on a beach near the arty resort of Tulum after Dean hit on August 21, Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) said on Wednesday.

Believed to be from a shipwrecked European galleon, the badly corroded cannons will be put back in to the sea to protect them from faster corrosion onshore and for scuba divers to enjoy, it said.

"People started working to clear up the beach and they found three artifacts that were uncovered when sand was torn away by the strong winds that hit the region," INAH's director in the region, Adriana Velazquez, said in a statement.

She could not be reached directly because of damage to telephone lines from Hurricane Dean.

The cannons appeared just south of the clifftop Mayan ruins at Tulum, which INAH said were left intact by the Category 5 storm's 250km/h winds and lashing rains.

Lying on what is now a bar-lined tourist haven, the cannons were a flashback to the centuries following Spain's 1521 conquest of Mexico, when fleets of Spanish galleons loaded with gold, silver and other New World plunder crossed the Caribbean, often with English, French or Dutch pirates in pursuit.

The cannons are similar to others discovered in past years along Mexico's Caribbean coast and they appear to be more than 200 years old, Velazquez said.

Their bad state of corrosion suggests they were taken out of the sea many years ago and left out in the salty air, she said.


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