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 Wednesday, 8 January, 2003, 18:31 GMT
Devon treasure goes on display
A diver with a gold coin from the unnamed ship
The gold goes on display next week
One of the largest ever hoards of gold and jewellery discovered on a shipwreck off the Devon coast is to go on display at the British Museum.

It is thought the ship was sunk off Salcombe during the 17th Century after being attacked by pirates hunting white slaves.

Experts have pieced together the past of the unnamed ship and a fascinating story has emerged.

It is believed the vessel was used by pirates who raided the coastline for white slaves to sell in North Africa.

I like to think the gold is telling the tale of these lost souls

Neville Oldham Southwest Maritime Archaeology Group
"All your life as a diver this is your dream, it's a fascinating story," said Neville Oldham from the Southwest Maritime Archaeology Group.

"It's Boy's Own stuff, treasure and pirate ships.

"I like to think the gold is telling the tale of these lost souls.

"And I'm pleased our team of divers uncovered this story."

A team from the BBC's Timewatch programme has chronicled the discovery of the gold bullion, jewellery and other items and work on the artefacts by the British Museum.

Archaeologists are puzzled by the mixture of European items and gold coins from Morocco and how a vessel containing one of the largest ever seabed finds came to be in waters off Salcombe.

The gold goes on display next week and divers will continue their hunt for further relics later in the year.

Timewatch - White Slaves, Pirate Gold - is on BBC Two on Friday at 2100 GMT.


Click here to go to Devon
See also:

07 Jan 03 | England
04 Dec 02 | England
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