Crafty in the Med

I am here to enjoy meeting other bloggers and to share my love of craft ,mostly crochet, my thoughts and my daily happenings here in Alicante,Spain, my adopted country. I belong to a local choir because singing and music makes me happy. Flea markets and book shops are two of my favourite places to be. I read lots......sci´fi/fantasy,buried treasure, and off world adventures. I have a passion for history! I walk and walk and walk for about 10 months per year during the hot months I swim.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The stuff treasure is made of....

and I mean the real stuff...that glittery gold looking stuff!!!

and buckets and buckets of it!!

 The last voyage of the frigate Our Lady of Mercy or Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes exhibition in the Marq Museum,Alicante.

I had been waiting eagerly for this exhibition to arrive here in Alicante! 
I have been following the discovery of the Mercedes and its treasure,the lawsuit proceedings and the final success of the Spanish authorities in winning the lawsuit against Odyssey Marine Exploration, for several years.
Finally after a long wait and after touring many of the major cities in Spain this exhibition arrived here in Alicante and Friday, May Day, being a fiesta day was perfect for us to go and see it.

This is a story of greed and plunder both latter-day and in the past, as described in this extract:

The Spanish frigates – Medea, Mercedes, Fama and Clara – laden with bullion for the Spanish crown, under the command of the expert seaman Don José Bustamante, were sailing from Montevideo to the coasts of Cadiz. They were intercepted and attacked off Cape St Vincent, south of Portugal, by four English frigates which, despite the existing peace treaties between the two nations, were lying in wait for them to prevent the riches from falling into the hands of Napoleon, their most feared enemy. When the Spanish commanders refused to accompany them to any non-Spanish port, Sir Graham Moore launched the attack, with barely any time to negotiate and seek an alternative that did not involve bloodshed. During the unexpected combat the Spanish frigate Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes violently exploded and instantly sank. Two hundred and sixty-three people died in the explosion or subsequently drowned. The loss of this frigate, which was carrying many passengers – among them the wife and children of the second-in-command, Don Diego Alvear – swung the combat in favour of the English ships, which eventually captured the three Spanish frigates and escorted them under arrest to Great Britain.

Two hundred and three years on from this historic event, which led directly to the declaration of war on England that December, the ‘treasure hunting’ firm Odyssey Marine Exploration located and plundered part of this frigate’s cargo, illegally transporting it to Tampa (Florida) in 2007. More than 500,000 silver and gold coins, in addition to a few remains of objects belonging to the crew, make up the rich archaeological treasure extracted from the sunken wreck that lay at a depth of 1,500 metres beneath the sea. This gave rise to a lengthy lawsuit in which the US courts finally ruled in favour of the Spanish state, acknowledging its rights to these assets and ordering their immediate return to Spain. The case sets an important international precedent in the defence of Underwater Archaeological Heritage.

The main purpose of the exhibition is to make these assets known and available to society as part of a heritage that belongs to it. The exhibition project aims to go beyond the economic worth of the coins extracted by conveying the cultural values of these objects, which are protected by law as part of Spain’s Historic Heritage.

Although I knew that the treasure itself mainly consisted of a very large amount of silver and gold coins I still looked for and found no evidence of the mundane archaeological items that are usually found and displayed from a shipwreck such as personal items or nautical remains. However except for a gold rape box, part of a silver fork, and one gold cufflink there were none.
I admit to being quite surprised by this until I read the following:

situated near the exit at the end of the exhibition.

A brilliantly presented exhibition which I'd recommend to anyone who is visiting Alicante.

 I am indeed thankful that the Spanish State won the lawsuit otherwise I and others would have never had the opportunity to learn about and see this impressive treasure and also understand the importance of protecting the Archaeological Heritage of every country in the world so we may all enjoy and understand our past.

In the hands of Odyssey everything would have gone to the highest bidder and private collections!!!

Keep well

Amanda :-)


  1. Goodness! This is absolutely amazing...What a fantastic read...
    The history..Yeah! Love it!

    Yeah! Know! I follow just a few Blogs..But, l have to say, this one
    l find quite romantic...Yeah! Romantic...Well, Spain being close to
    my own home...The Med and all that! Great!
    I'm sitting here...Listening to Tony Bennett in the background...A CD
    from last year called Duets 11. I watch a programme about the CD the
    other week...On Sky Arts...Hour and a half, as he travelled round the
    world to do duets 17 different artists, with the likes of..Andrea Boccelli,
    Maria Carey, Amy Winehouse....The first track is sung with...Stefani
    Joanne Angelina Germanota....No! No! HeHe! Google it........! :>).
    And track 15...Is with Alejandro Sanz,,,It's on Utube if you want to watch
    and listen to it...Just Google the title...'Yesterday I Heard the Rain'.
    "Esta tarsde veo, viente corrrer,
    no estabas tu'
    El otono vive ilegar,
    el mar o cantary y no estabas tu...(And so on...).
    When it comes on...I always push the repeat button...!
    Great CD to have...I'm strictly Soul...But, love this.....!

    Goodness! Sorry Amanda...Gone off on one here....HeHe!
    Seems to be a bit 'Chock~A~Block'....(Wonder what that means)!!!

    1. My husband enjoys Alejandro Sanz's music ...... personally I like Andrea Boccelli and he usually sings some good duets too with different artists like Celine Dion. I like Soul too but also practically any music except hard rock . It all depends the mood I'm in. Thanks for visiting :-)

      A xx

    2. There is also a duet with Andrea Boccelli...(Stranger in Paradise).
      As l said there are 17 in all...And well worth
      £6:99 (UK price). Recorded in 2011.

    3. There is also a duet with Andrea Boccelli...(Stranger in Paradise).
      As l said there are 17 in all...And well worth
      £6:99 (UK price). Recorded in 2011.

  2. Really interesting story, at least greed didn't triumph in the end although the loss of the archaeological history is a pity.

  3. Fascinating story and I somehow remember this as I live near Tampa. I am glad it is all resolved and back in the country it belongs to.

  4. Thanks for posting, Amanda. I vaguely remember hearing about this conflict of interests, but not the resolution. I'm glad that some of the historical value is being preserved and I am pondering our human concept of "ownership"! xx

    1. I agree Gracie......the human concept of "ownership" is to ponder on when you consider that the gold and silver coins from that treasure were from the 18th cent treasury in Peru. Where did that come from? You only have to look to what the Spanish "conquistadors" stole from the different South Amercian civilisations during that era!!!
      A xx

  5. That as an amazing history lesson. Thanks for sharing xxx

  6. Fascinating story. I'm so glad the treasures have reached their rightful home.

  7. What a great story Amanda. I appreciate you passing it on to us as I hadn't heard anything about it. Greed is a terrible thing. Both the recent plundering but the terrible loss of life in the original battle. So sad.

  8. How very interesting, what a shame the rest was lost through pure greed :( Thank goodness the Spanish government won the court case.

  9. Fascinating story, Amanda, thank you for sharing this very interesting piece of history! So glad the treasure is in its rightful place.
    Happy week ahead.
    Helen xox

  10. How interesting Amanda thank you for sharing the story I would love to see the exhibition :) xx

  11. How interesting ,it's great the treasures are back in the right place. Thanks for sharing

  12. What an interesting piece of history, I did enjoy this post.

  13. This is really a fascinating story and it is worth pondering about who is the "owner" of archaeological treasures or things that were "stolen" in the past. It is a big question here in Germany, as well. Especially when we think of all the things the Nazies have stolen from the Jewish people. It is so difficult to dispence justice. Have a nice week, Viola


Thank you for your comments. I do read them and try to reply to all as well.Please keep them coming. Amanda :-)