Jupiter Inlet Wreck Site

Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
Published in Arts & Culture

In 1987 a Jupiter Beach lifeguard discovered cannons and anchors at the Jupiter Inlet Wreck Site. Jupiter Wreck, Inc., of Jupiter, was formed in 1988 and acquired the necessary permits in 1990 to excavate. The initial quest around the area produced several thousand Spanish pieces of eight gold bars, and one large, 80-pound silver bar.

The Jupiter Beach shipwreck is believed to be the San Miguel Archangel, an aviso. An aviso was a ship used to carry Royal correspondence, passengers, and special cargo for the King of Spain and Viceroys. The research discovered that 33 passengers survived the shipwreck. The passengers were found stranded at Jupiter Inlet in 1660.

The San Miguel Archangel is documented to have sailed in 1659 from Havana, Cuba, transporting special chests containing valuables destined for Philip IV, King of Spain. The silver coins recovered from the wreck site are dated between 1649 and 1659.

In 1995, during the Jupiter beach re-nourishment project, a cutter-dredge was used two thousand feet offshore to pull through the ocean bottom, and then pump sand onshore via a pipeline system. Following the beach re-nourishment, beachcombers found artifacts. Items found by the beach visitors were pieces of iron with coins attached, pewter bottle tops, etc. Some of the items were sliced in half, indicating the cutter dredge moved through San Miguel Archangel's strewn trail.

Today, the remains of the Archangel are scattered under 10 to 20 feet of water, and twenty feet of sand, from present-day Jupiter Inlet. It is suspected that the trail's end, buried in the sand, is a ballast pile. At that location, remains of the lower hull of the ship. The hull has yet to be discovered there could be a fortune of gold and silver.


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