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Archaeological Discovery Ventures

Archaeological Discovery Ventures, LLC
Archaeological and Shipwreck Research and Location, Treasure Salvage, and Historical Preservation.

Past Projects:
Ambrosia Shipwreck

Mussolini Diamonds

Cortes Shipwreck
Upcoming Projects:

Treasures of the Americas Exhibit

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Past Projects:
Ambrosia Shipwreck

While working with commercial divers in 1989, Dr. Benilous was searching for lobsters in an area that the divers dismissed as an early 20th Century shipwreck. Veering a little off the beaten path, he noticed a very large anchor. His knowledge of history told him that this was clearly not modern ground tackle. He followed what he expected to be the logical direction of a potential shipwreck and encountered a storm-washed area with a few pottery shards sticking out of the sand. He began feverishly putting pieces of the pottery in his vest and signaled the other divers to do the same.

Hesitant to abandon their cash crop of lobsters, Dr. Benilous's persistence convinced them to also retrieve a few samples. Upon returning to the surface, they belabored the point. Convinced they had found something unique, he contacted Dr. Peter Throckmorton, considered to be the Father of Underwater Archaeology. He asked the team to recover, if possible, a piece of wood from the ship that included at least two nail holes so he could determine spacing and potential size. After numerous dives, they returned with a well-aged piece of wood with two nail holes. From this information, Dr. Throckmorton was able to determine that the ship was a 16th Century Galleon.

Further research and over 1,000 man hours later, the team determined that the ship dated back to 1554, making it the Oldest Shipwreck in the Western Hemisphere ever discovered. Unfortunately, they also determined that the ship had been damaged in a storm and had, in fact, been anchored offshore and set ablaze - scuttled as useless. Following a battle with the State of Florida over custodial rights to the ship, ADVL made its case in Federal Court and was granted sole custody of the wreck for the recovery. While this was a huge victory for shipwreck salvers everywhere, the celebration was to be short-lived.

Repeated attempts to find interest in raising the remains of the wreck to create a lasting tribute to the ship and to the craftsmanship of the period were unsuccessful. As there was nothing commercially viable on the wreck, not even the State of Florida had any interest in displaying the find. The wreck was renamed in honor of Dr. Benilous's West Palm Beach eatery, Ambrosia Restaurant, and remains named 'The Ambrosia Wreck' to this day.

As is often the case in treasure hunting, some less-than-honorable things have happened with the shipwreck in the decades since it was first discovered in 1989. Several other shipwreck salvage companies have been duped into believing that the wreck still held some valuable cargo. These failure of these companies to do the proper research and find the incredible amount of detail in state archives, is frankly, disappointing. Amazingly, we have even been approached at least three times in the last five years by other treasure salvage firms (including two publicly traded firms) hoping to raise investor funds to finance their continued search for untold treasures.

Clearly, a ship that was purposely scuttled would have been stripped of all usable cargo, including fixtures and equipment that could have been used on other vessels. We are always shocked to learn that yet another unsuspecting crew - or worse, unsuspecting investors - have been duped into wasting time and resources on a pipe dream. We continue to try to dispel the myths and hype with honest first-hand information about the wreck. While it is certainly a fantastic dive site still yielding stone cannon balls and pottery shards, there are no doubloons or golden treasures to be found on the wreck. Oddly enough, it is still an active treasure lease that occasionally finds itself the subject of another wild goose chase.

Archaeological Discovery Ventures, LLC
1603 S Dixie Highway
West Palm Beach, Florida 33401 USA
By Appointment Only, Please
+786-417-4910 Phone
+786-524-5747 Fax

All Rights Reserved. Copyright 1989-2014, Archaeological Discovery Ventures, LLC, West Palm Beach, Florida.