Back in May, U.S. underwater explorer Bill Clifford was convinced he found the wreck of the Santa Maria, one of three ships Christopher Columbus used for his first trip to the Americas.

Not so fast says the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

“There is now indisputable proof that the wreck is that of a ship from a much later period,” the UNESCO said in a statement today.

What’s this “indisputable proof?”

Fastening used in the ship’s hull found at the site point to a ship constructed in the late 17th or 18th century. Not in a ship that was abandoned after striking a reef in December 1492.

The UNESCO says Clifford was looking in the right area based on accounts of Columbus inaugural trip, but “it is further away from shore than one should expect.”

The UNSECO sent a team of its own experts to the wreck last month. The UNESCO report also touched on a couple of possibilities of what happened to the Santa Maria. It could be buried due to heavy sedimentation from nearby coastal rivers. Or, the ship could “have been slowly worn down by the waves, potentially leaving remains on a reef or sandbank in the bay.”

One thing is for certain, the search for the Santa Maria continues.

Image credit: 1998 Replica. Ben Salter/Wikipedia

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