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Image taken by the REMUS submersible showing the cannon that were on board the San Jose when it sunk in 1708. Credit: REMUS image, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

Explorers disclosed new details on Monday about the "Holy Grail of Shipwrecks," known as the San José. The vessel is a large 62-gun, three-masted Spanish galleon ship sank in 1708 while carrying cargo from Spain thought to be worth billions.

Why it matters: : Explorers located the ship off the coast of Cartagena on Nov. 27, 2015. The find was announced at the time, but now explorers are disclosing more information about the wreck site, how they found it, and what Colombia plans to do with the ship's contents. According to the AP, the shipwreck may contain riches that are worth as much as $17 billion in today's dollars.

The discovery "carries considerable cultural and historical significance" for the Colombian people, according to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (WHOI) , since it reveals information about European influence on South America during the early 18th century. The San José was carrying gold, silver, and emeralds, in addition to ceramics and other artifacts.

The Colombian government is planning to build a museum and conservation laboratory focused on the ship's contents.

How they found it:

  • The ship was discovered at a depth of about 2,000 feet by explorers from WHOI, Maritime Archaeology Consultants, Switzerland AG, and the Colombian government using assets that included an autonomous underwater vehicle known as the REMUS 6000, according to WHOI.
  • The same underwater vehicle was involved in the successful search for Air France flight 447 in 2011, as well as a mission to map the Titanic wreck site 2010.
  • The San José was partly sediment covered, forcing the REMUS to get within 30 feet of the ship. Experts were able to make out its distinguishing cannons once the REMUS' cameras neared to the wreckage.

The Colombian government is still keeping the exact location of the ship, which sank in a battle with British ships during the War of Spanish Succession, under wraps.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Updated 3 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Media startups anxiously await BuzzFeed’s stock market debut

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Digital media companies considering going public are watching BuzzFeed's expected stock market debut next week to see how investors will respond.

Why it matters: A slowdown in SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies) earlier this year pushed some digital media companies that were considering going public via SPAC IPOs away from the idea, such as Vice.

Retail's IOU boom

Black Friday shoppers in Skokie, Ill. Photo: Joel Lerner/Xinhua via Getty Images

Here's a staggering stat: Americans' use of "buy now, pay later" options increased 438% between November 2019 and November 2021, according to an Adobe analysis reported by Retail Dive.

Why it matters: This is one of the biggest new trends in shopping right now. People are getting more and more comfortable with apps like Afterpay, Klarna and Affirm that facilitate "buy now, pay later," and let customers spread out the cost of purchases over a long period of time without a credit card.