1809, after the ship sank, some items were salvaged from
the wreck, but the valuable cargoes deep in the hold were not
1984, which was 175 years after the ship sank, a local fisherman
reported that he thought he was snagging his nets on the Admiral
Gardner, the fate of the ship being well known locally.
divers who made the first dive on the wreck were amazed at what
they saw. Exposed ribs, frames and decking outlined the shape
of the ship. She was lying on a gently sloping sandy bottom at
depths ranging between 45 and 60 feet of water. Along with her
cargo of coins, some of which had spilled out from the barrels
in which they were stowed, her cargo had consisted of a quantity
of cannon balls, anchors, iron bars and copper ingots .
1985 the wreck was listed as being of historical interest, and
a licence to dive on the site was granted to Richard Larn of Cornwall,
the original discoverers of the wreck having formed themselves
into a syndicate known as The East India Company Divers. The group,
all very experienced in diving on wrecks on the Goodwin Sands,
was formed to salvage and administer the legal aspects of any
artefacts recovered. Some salvage was carried out in the summer
of 1984, but due to weather problems and the special difficulties
of working four miles offshore, the amount of coin recovered was
June 1985, professional divers from a company called SAR Diving,
who were working with the EIC diving group, succeeded in recovering
a large quantity of copper coins, which were passed to the legal
authority for such finds, the Receiver of Wreck. The most impressive
find was an intact barrel which underwent preservation treatment
at Portsmouth and was estimated to contain 28,000 coins.
as is the case with many of these ventures, treasure (or here,
at least, the copper variety) meant trouble. Strong disagreements
developed between the parties involved about the methods employed
on the wreck, some of which included controlled explosions. Diving
on the site was suspended, and the site remains a protected wreck,
with no-one currently licensed to dive on it.
has been some archaeological
of the site.
versus Archaeology: an ongoing dilemma...
many years there has been a debate between commercial salvors
and underwater archaeologists about the best way to manage historic
claim that in many cases they are the driving force behind the
discovery of wrecks which would otherwise remain unknown.
say that the incentive of being able to profit from the sale of
cargo or artefacts allows them to mount expeditions to locate
and investigate wrecks.
believe that the activities of the salvors and treasure hunters
cause damage to wreck sites and that valuable information is lost
to future generations. In many cases they say, they would prefer
wrecks to remain unknown.