A remarkable space treasure map has led explorers to a mysterious shipwreck site.
Researchers located a pile of six cannons dating back to the 1700s, which may indicate that other treasures are nearby. Darrell Miklos, who led the team, will reveal the find during the latest episode of the Discovery Channel series “Cooper’s Treasure,” which airs on Friday at 9 p.m. ET.
Armed with the map, Miklos has been hunting potentially treasure-laden shipwrecks in the Bahamas.
“If and when a ship loses its only way of protecting itself (cannons) then it's a tell-tale sign that they were in real peril,” he told Fox News via email.
“One possibility is that the ship dumped the cannons because it was taking on so much water, they needed to get rid of all things heavy."
Another possible scenario described by Miklos is that the ship was tossed around so much that it was listing side to side and the cannons sunk with the ship. “Either way, finding the cannons is a sure sign the ship’s final resting place is somewhere nearby,” he added.
The map was put together in the 1960s by NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper to identify more than 100 “anomalies” in the Caribbean that may be shipwrecks. Cooper, who died from Parkinson’s disease in 2004, created the map following his Mercury 9 Faith 7 flight. At the time, he was said to have been on a mission to identify Cold War nuclear threats.
Before his death, Cooper gave the maps to his friend Miklos, a historical shipwreck discovery specialist. Miklos has been using the maps to seek out a slew of historic wrecks.
Miklos told Fox News that his team had been following a debris trail in area of Cooper’s chart. This was cross-referenced with information in a letter written by the late astronaut.
“Mike Perna, our survey specialist, charted multiple unidentified anomalies in the search area with the magnetometer,” said Miklos. “In order to investigate the large area more thoroughly, we decided to tow ourselves behind the boat to identify artifacts visually. We identified multiple (40 or more ships pins and scattered ballast) smaller artifacts, but we were looking for a game changing discovery, and voilà!!”
In the latest season of “Cooper’s Treasure,” Miklos sets out to track down 11 shipwreck sites in the Bahamas that may be loaded with silver, gold and other treasures, potentially worth billions of dollars.
Information provided by Cooper before his death indicates that there could be as much as 290 tons of silver alone across the 11 sites, which were visited in 1966 by Cooper’s exploration partner, Kip Wagner.
Cooper’s research has already helped unearth some fascinating discoveries. During the previous season of the show, Miklos and his team used the map to make a remarkable find in the Caribbean — a centuries-old anchor believed to be from one of Christopher Columbus’ ships.
Analysis of the anchor, which was found off the Turks and Caicos Islands, reveals that it dates to between 1492 and 1550. The overall size of the anchor and its estimated weight indicated that it was a “bower” anchor from a 300-ton vessel, the typical size of a Columbus-era ship.
Fox News’ Lindsay Carlton contributed to this article.
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