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Sea explorers probing the depths of the English Channel have discovered what they say is a legendary British warship that sank in a fierce storm in 1744 with the loss of more than 900 men and possibly four tons of gold coins valued at $1 billion.
An underwater photo of a bronze cannon on the shipwreck, which bears the royal crest of King George I.
The team found the wreckage of the HMS Victory last year and confirmed its identity through a close examination of 41 bronze cannons visible on the sandy bottom, Greg Stemm, head of the discovery team, said at a news conference Monday in London.
The team lifted two of the cannons from the seabed and gave them to the British Ministry of Defense, he said. The team’s leaders are now negotiating with British authorities on the disposition of the artifacts and treasure before the divers attempt further recoveries.
The Victory was armed with up to 110 bronze cannons, making it one of the deadliest vessels of the age. The largest cannon weighed four tons and could fire cannonballs of 42 pounds — the most powerful gun then used in naval warfare.