In 1623, a fleet from Havana was struck by a storm at the mouth of the Bahama Channel somewhere near the coast of Florida. "The treasure-laden galleon Espiritu Santo el Mayor, 480 tons, Captain Antonio de Soto, opened up and sank so quickly that only 50 of the 300 persons aboard her could be saved by other ships, and all her treasure — amounting to 1 million pesos, was totally lost." Such catastrophes at sea — among many described in this book — have long fueled dreams of finding sunken ships awash in gold doubloons and fabulous jewels, and have tantalized archaeologists with the prospect of recovering valuable historic artifacts. Now a noted marine archaeologist and salvage expert offers a detailed hands-on guide to would-be treasure hunters and explorers of sunken wrecks. Owner of a diving and salvage company, Robert Marx has spent years compiling data on over 28,500 shipwrecks, and has personally located and mapped hundreds of wrecks. He not only tells exactly how to go about locating a sunken vessel and what to do when you’ve found it but also offers a comprehensive catalog of 4,000 authenticated wrecks and their locations. The book is divided into two parts: Part I offers a wealth of expert information on the history of salvage; locating shipwrecks; surveying, mapping and excavating a site; identification and dating of shipwrecks and their cargoes; preservation of artifacts, and much more. Part II comprises a carefully researched guide to every major shipwreck in the Western hemisphere, from the time of Christopher Columbus to about 1825. Descriptive captions on each wreck include year, captain, ports of origin and destination, probable location, cargo, lives lost, and more. These captions amount to a treasure hunter's guided tour of ships waiting to be discovered in the waters of Canada, the United States (including an entire chapter on Florida — a major location of shipwrecks), the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In this edition the text is illustrated with 73 fascinating photographs of divers and technicians at work and artifacts of all kinds — coins, cannons, swords, iron chests, pottery, pewter, anchors, etc., salvaged by the author and his colleagues. You'll also find a selected bibliography and an index.