Digital Library

Saona 2 (c. 1550)

Filipe Castro


Country: Dominican Republic

Place: Isla Catalanita

Coordinates: Lat: 18.180939; Long: -68.628533

Dated: c. 1550

Description of Wreck

Between January and July 1983, treasure hunter Burt Webber carried out a survey in the Mona Passage, between the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, looking for a treasure supposedly carried by one of the vessels of the fleet of Nicolás Ovando, sunk by a hurricane in 1502.

Positions of the three Saona shipwreck sites (Turner 1994).

Among the sites found, three were particularly interesting for their artillery collection, and inspired an MA Thesis at Texas A&M University (Turner 1994).  Heavy iron objects such as wrought-iron artillery and anchors were located and Turner believes that as these sites appeared to have been unsalvaged, their guns possibly represented complete artillery collections.

Webber partially salvaged two of the sites, removing a number of guns that are very difficult to locate, if they have survived at all, but Turner recorded and published all the guns he had access to.


Site 2 was found during a visual reconnaissance flowing the finding of Site 1. Lying in 2-3 m of water, it consisted of eight versos, a long tube possibly a cerbatana, three powder chambers for the cerbatana, one haquebut, one small hand-held canon, and one concretion formed by one broken anchor shank and the remains of probably seven other haquebuts. Turner refers a second broken anchor shank.

Saona 2 shipwreck site (Turner 1994).

The treasure hunters raised the long tube, two versos, one powder chamber, and the haquebut.


Turner, S., 1994. Saona Artillery: Implications for Inter-Island Trade and Shipboard Armaments in the First Half of the Sixteenth Century. MA Thesis, Texas A&M University.