Mud covering the wreck had kept oxygen from reaching it. This reduced organic decay, helping preserve the ship and its contents. Oyster and barnacle growth and shipworm damage occurred only on the upper portions of the wreck, above the thick, liquid mud covering the sea floor.
After divers mapped and removed artifacts that they found by touch in each square, they used a hydraulic water lift. This piece of equipment sent a large volume of pressurized water through a pipe down to the bottom. It forced the water and bottom material through a pipe back up to the diving boat at the surface. On the boat, the material was collected in a wire basket. Archaeologists cataloged all artifacts according to their square. They left large artifacts in place until they mapped them near the end of the excavation. Excavations concluded on February 15, 1981.
Archaeologists also searched the shore for the shipwreck survivors' camp. They found only a few historic artifacts. One of these, a small clay bowl, was identical to several from El Nuevo Constante. It appeared, however, that waves had washed it on shore. No other evidence of the survivors' camp was found. Maps show that the shoreline in this area had eroded about 4,600 feet since 1766. It is likely that erosion destroyed the site of the camp.
(Top) Recording information about the wreck.
(Bottom) Silver disks recovered from El Nuevo Constante.
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